Through our work with the media, both on the record and on background, Joyful Heart Foundation staff are working to help shape the national media narrative around the need to eliminate the rape kit backlog, to highlight work being done in local jurisdictions, and to hold accountable those standing in the way of comprehensive reform. Below are some recent clips that reflect our efforts.
Much of what we know about the rape kit backlog in cities comes not from government reporting, but from the hard work of researchers and journalists investigating this issue. To support their work, we have assembled resources for reporters. For media inquiries, contact email@example.com.
In unusual step, victims told of destroyed rape kits
When Veronica was raped more than 13 years ago, she says neither the police nor the hospital staff believed her story that a longtime friend attacked her while his mother was in the next room.
“I was treated like a female crying wolf,” said Veronica, who says the man raped her while she was unconscious. She believes he drugged her drink.
She was surprised, earlier this year, when she got a call from the initial investigating officer, John Somerindyke, who apologized for how she was treated and for something that Veronica didn’t yet know: Her rape kit was among 333 kits that Fayetteville police had thrown away.
Missouri Attorney General announces audit of unprocessed sexual assault evidence kits
By Paige Cox
November 9, 2017
There is no law in Missouri that requires any of the policing agencies to audit the number of unprocessed kits they are storing. Missouri is one of 18 states that has never done a statewide audit.
HPD clearing backlog of sexual assault kits
By Nanea Kalani
November 13, 2017
The Honolulu Police Department says that by the end of November it will clear a backlog o nearly 1,400 sexual assault evidence kits, some dating back more than two decades, and will send out all of about 200 more recent kits in the department's possession for testing by the end of the year.
A legislative audit led by the state Attorney General's Office last year revealed the extent of the backlogs at Hawaii's police departments, where DNA evidence collected from sexual assaults has languished on shelves for years, mirroring a national problem.
Untested rape exam kits number thousands in Indiana
By Dave Stafford
The Indiana Lawyer
September 20, 2017
Like many states, Indiana has a problem — mountains of untested rape exam kits in local law enforcement agencies that contain DNA evidence potentially identifying sex offenders. Indiana’s backlog of untested kits is certainly in the thousands. Victim advocates say the question is, how many thousands?
No one can accurately answer that question — at least not until Dec. 1. That’s when a report to lawmakers is due from Indiana State Police, detailing the number of untested kits warehoused by law enforcement agencies around the state.
Federal dollars help clear untested rape kits
New York City is getting some federal help to eliminate its backlog of untested rape kits.
The Justice Department's Sexual Assault Kit Initiative is distributing $34 million to 20 jurisdictions around the country. The grants will help test kits that have often sat in evidence lockers for years, prosecute those identified by DNA analysis, and keep victims informed.