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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.

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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EndTheBacklogNovember 17, 2017

Creating A Victim Notification Procedure in Fayetteville

Lieutenant John Somerindyke from the Fayetteville, North Carolina Police Department (FPD) shares the department's efforts to establish a victim notification protocol to re-engage survivors in the criminal justice system. As a 2015 Sexual Assault Kit Initiative grantee, FPD was tasked with testing backlogged rape kits, notifying victims, and investigating cases.

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EndTheBacklogNovember 16, 2017

Supporting Cold Case Victims through Notification in Cuyahoga County

Marya Simmons is the supervisor of the Victim Witness Unit at the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. Since 2013, she has worked to support survivors through the prosecutorial process. Here, she discusses her role as a system-based advocate on the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) Task Force, which handles cold cases associated with rape kits that have not previously been submitted.

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EndTheBacklogOctober 24, 2017

Portrait of a Serial Rapist

Studies of perpetrators identified through testing backlogged kits show that serial offenders commit many types of violent crimes, including crimes against intimate partners and acquaintances. James Drane of Detroit is one of the many perpetrators linked to both domestic violence and sexual assault.

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EndTheBacklogOctober 23, 2017

Serial Predators: The Connection Between Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse are inextricably linked. While Joyful Heart’s top policy priority is ending the backlog of untested rape kits, we frame this work to achieve our broader mission: ending this violence forever. This Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we explore the overlap between domestic violence and sexual assault, and how efforts to end the backlog have brought to light the prevalence of this overlap.

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