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The Backlog

END THE BACKLOG Blog

Across the country, the rape kit backlog is making headlines. Journalists are uncovering backlogs, jurisdictions are implementing reforms to track and test rape kits and citizens are taking action. In the Media Center, you'll find the latest information about the backlog, including: commentary from the END THE BACKLOG staff and backlog reformers, first-person testimonials from those impacted by the backlog, an archive of news articles, op-eds, investigative reports, legislation and government publications we've identified, and more.

EndTheBacklogJune 5, 2018

Property and Evidence Warehouses: Ensuring Victims’ Rights from the Back Room

Our guest authors, Doreen Jokerst and Maria Pettolina, hail from Parker, Colorado. Doreen is the Support Services Commander for the Parker Police Department. She has 19 years experience in law enforcement working in various divisions including patrol, investigations, and professional standards. Maria is the Crime Scene and Evidence Manager with the Parker Police Department. She has 10 years of experience with evidence management, and has been involved with over 100 sexual assault cases. They share their thoughts on the ways property and evidence room managers can help improve the rape kit handling process.

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EndTheBacklogApril 27, 2018

Mid-Year Update: State Legislative Reform in 2018

Enacting Joyful Heart’s six pillars in law is the only way to ensure that neither discretion nor resources can be used any longer as an excuse to deny sexual assault survivors the justice they deserve. Since January 2018, 33 rape kit reform bills have been introduced in 21 states.

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EndTheBacklogApril 27, 2018

I Am a Survivor

Natasha Alexenko is a survivor, activist, and educator who is working to change the criminal justice system’s response to sexual assault. In 2011, she started Natasha’s Justice Project, a nonprofit dedicated to processing the untested sexual assault kits in the United States. Here, she reflects on being a survivor during National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

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EndTheBacklogApril 3, 2018

Testimony of Sarah Haacke Byrd in California Senate on Rape Kit Reform

Joyful Heart Foundation Managing Director Sarah Haacke Byrd testified today before the California Senate Committee on Public Safety in support of rape kit reform legislation.

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EndTheBacklogMarch 29, 2018

Testing Unsubmitted Rape Kits Saves Money

Our guest authors today are from the research team of the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education at Case Western Reserve University: Rachel Lovell, PhD; Mendel Singer, PhD; Daniel Flannery, PhD; and Misty Luminais, PhD. Here they explain why testing rape kits is beneficial for sexual assault survivors and for communities looking to cut crime and costs.

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EndTheBacklogJanuary 17, 2018

Legislative Success in 2017 and Beyond

2017 was a year of unprecedented progress for our campaign to end the backlog of untested rape kits through state legislative reform. Lawmakers in 34 states introduced 77 bills embracing our six pillars of rape kit reform—more than ever before.

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EndTheBacklogJanuary 16, 2018

A Successful Year in Idaho: Launching the First Statewide Rape Kit Tracking System

Matthew Gamette is the Laboratory System Director at the Idaho State Police Forensic Services. Since 2014, Idaho has worked to reform rape kit handling. Matthew shares his experience working with a multidisciplinary team, in-house developers, and victim advocates to build and launch the first operational statewide rape kit tracking system in the country.

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EndTheBacklogJanuary 16, 2018

State and Community Leaders Advanced Rape Kit Reform in 2017

Our Policy and Advocacy Manager Lily Rocha reflects on the work from state lawmakers in 2017 to improve the response to sexual assault survivors and provide them with greater access to justice.

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