Statements for the Senate Judiciary Hearing, "Taking Sexual Assault Seriously: The Rape Kit Backlog and Human Rights"
Sarah Haacke Byrd is testifying before the hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, “Taking Sexual Assault Seriously: The Rape Kit Backlog and Human Rights.” Her testimony, here.
The Joyful Heart Foundation today praised the House Committee on Appropriations’ inclusion of $41 million in funding for the Justice Department’s community-based sexual assault response initiative in their FY16 Commerce, Justice and Science funding bill.
Today, the Joyful Heart Foundation welcomed the U.S. Department of Justice's release of two solicitations for funding to address the growing backlog of sexual assault kits at law enforcement agencies.
This week, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced $35 million in funding for jurisdictions to test backlogged rape kits—the single largest financial contribution toward ending the rape kit backlog.
The rape kit backlog sends two terrible messages: to victims, it says: you don't matter. What happened to you doesn't matter. And to criminals, it says: what you did doesn't matter. Testing the kits reverses those messages.
Today's announcement is a watershed moment.
Politics in the U.S. Congress have stalled new, critical funding to address the nation’s rape kit backlog.
Joyful Heart Foundation Applauds NIJ/FBI Partnership to Address Rape Kit Backlog; Urges Senate to Approve Critical Funding
This new partnership will give local and state jurisdictions the opportunity to submit untested kits to the federal government for testing. The FBI will serve as a “centralized testing laboratory” for those kits and will upload resulting DNA profiles into the national DNA database. NIJ will gather information from the program to inform rape kit collection and testing processes nationwide.
This new initiative will enable communities to develop a thorough approach to rape kit testing, investigation and prosecution of sexual violence, training for law enforcement and services for survivors.
With a few simple actions, you can let your legislators know how important their work to address the rape kit backlog is to you.