Washington

Backlog Snapshot

Washington
Untested Kits:

5,881*

Testing:

In Progress

Does Washington...
Inventory untested rape kits?
Yes, a one-time inventory.
Test backlogged rape kits?
No, the state has not committed to testing.
Test newly collected rape kits?
Yes, all newly collected kits are being tested.
Grant victims rights to notice and be informed?
No.
Track rape kits?
Yes, tracking system in process.
Appropriate funding for rape kit reform?
Yes, ongoing.

*According to a 2015 statewide survey of law enforcement agencies

Learn more about how we track reform

In 2015, the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) surveyed law enforcement agencies and announced a backlog of 5,881 untested kits across the state. In 2015, Washington enacted a law establishing a task force to develop a plan to address the state’s untested kits. 

In 2014, The Accountability Project issued an open records request to bring the number of untested rape kits in Seattle to light. Through this request, we uncovered a backlog of 1,276 untested kits in Seattle, prompting a local and statewide conversation about reform.

The 2015 law also required law enforcement agencies to submit rape kits for testing within 30 days of receipt. In the same year, Washington legislators also appropriated $2,750,000 to test newly collected kits.

In 2016, Washington enacted a law establishing a statewide rape kit tracking system and creating a training grant for law enforcement and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs). The same year, Washington legislators appropriated nearly $3,800,000 to fund the statewide tracking system. Additionally, the 2016-2017 budget appropriated $2.47 million to test old rape kits.

In 2017, Washington enacted a law creating the Washington Sexual Assault Initiative Pilot Project, a grant program to fund the local inventory and submission of backlogged kits, as well as the investigation and prosecution of cases that arise from the testing of these kits. The law also strengthens requirements for victim-centered, trauma-informed training for various law enforcement positions statewide. 

In 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) awarded the Washington State Attorney General $3,000,000 to test kits, investigate and prosecute cases, and re-engage survivors.

In 2018, Washington legislators introduced a bill to mandate the submission and testing of all backlogged rape kits and grant sexual assault survivors the right to notice regarding rape kit testing status and results, but this bill failed to pass. In September 2018, the Washington State Police committed to entering newly submitted and backlogged kits into the Washington State Sexual Assault Kit Tracking System. As of September 2018, there were 658 registred users through the pilot program, with statewide implementation of the tracking system to be completed in October 2018. 

TAKE ACTION TODAY TO BRING FURTHER RAPE KIT REFORM TO WASHINGTON

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