News, media, commentary, testimonials and more in one sortable location.

The Backlog


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.

EndTheBacklogMay 28, 2019

Testing All Rape Kits Provides Returns of Up to 65,000%

Dr. Paul J. Speaker is a professor in the finance department of the John Chambers College of Business & Economics at West Virginia University. He is also the Principal Investigator for Project FORESIGHT, a business-guided analysis of Forensic Science Laboratories. Here he shares with us some of his most recent research, which demonstrates just how much communities benefit financially when they test rape kits.


EndTheBacklogFebruary 21, 2019

Starting 2019 Off Strong: 28 Rape Kit Reform Bills in 19 States

Several states have begun their 2019 legislative sessions, and there has already been a flurry of activity in states around overhauling rape kit laws. Joyful Heart has been working diligently with lawmakers, survivors, and advocates around the country to introduce legislation and enact reform. So far, 28 rape kit reform bills in 19 states have been introduced.


EndTheBacklogJanuary 14, 2019

Successes in 2018: 18 Laws, 16 States

In 2018, rape kit reform took a tremendous step forward. Survivors, advocates, legislators, and countless others around the country rallied around ending the backlog, investigating cases, and supporting survivors. In 2018, 18 rape kit reform laws were enacted in 16 states. Hawai‘i, our birthplace, and New York, our current home state, both joined Texas in enacting full rape kit reform.


EndTheBacklogOctober 23, 2018

Georgia Serial Rapist Caught After Backlogged Kits Were Tested

A sexual assault survivor should not have to wait 10 years for their rape kit to be tested, but that happened in a Fulton County, Georgia case. While this kit sat on the shelf, the perpetrator sexually assaulted more people and committed other crimes.


EndTheBacklogOctober 11, 2018

New Funding Announced to Test Backlogged Kits and Support Survivors

At Joyful Heart, we are a proud partner in the effort to create funding opportunities, like the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI), for jurisdictions seeking to address their untested rape kit backlogs. For four years, we have engaged with members of Congress to secure funding for SAKI to support the work being done across the country.


EndTheBacklogJune 25, 2018

Preventable Crimes in California

The untested rape kit backlog denies justice for sexual assault survivors and communities. For every untested kit, there is a perpetrator who is not held accountable for their crime, free to re-offend and commit other crimes. Keith Asberry, 33, of Antioch, California is one of those offenders.


EndTheBacklogJune 25, 2018

June Update: State Legislative Reform in 2018

In April, we provided a snapshot of rape kit reform across the country. Since then, many state legislatures have wrapped up for the year. Let’s take a look at how rape kit reform has fared across the country and which states are enacting Joyful Heart’s six pillars.


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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