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.
Once the extent of a jurisdiction’s backlog is revealed, real reform can begin.
Information was gathered through public records requests.
The untested kits date back to 1985.
Memphis has made a commitment to address and eliminate the city’s backlog of untested sexual assault kits. And they're not alone in their efforts to tackle the backlog.
When the team at Joyful Heart began gathering data for the new interactive map on endthebacklog.org, illustrating everything we know about the rape kit backlog, we worried that the map might be a bit bare. Looking now at the final version of the map, the results are actually very powerful.
Recently, the rape kit backlog has been an increasingly common topic in news stories from across the country, from Ohio and Illinois to Texas and Tennessee.
Last week in Aurora, Colorado, Police Chief Dan Oates announced that evidence from 48 different sexual assault cases was destroyed by mistake. The evidence, all from 2009 cases, had been destroyed during a six-month period beginning in January 2013.