Joyful Heart Foundation Commends Passage of Massachusetts Bill to Increase Transparency for Sexual Assault Survivors
Championed by survivor and activist Amanda Nguyen, the Massachusetts law requires law enforcement or any governmental entity that is responsible for sexual assault forensic evidence to preserve that evidence, including rape kits, for at least 15 years or for the statute of limitations whether or not a victim chooses to report to law enforcement.
This year, we saw incredible progress in the movement to address the untested rape kit backlog and to ensure justice for sexual assault survivors. In 2016, rape kit reform bills were introduced in 21 states, and 13 states across the country have enacted legislation to date.
“Navigating Notification” includes years of research, best practices, and lessons learned.
In 2005, Congress amended the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to ensure that states bear the full costs of sexual assault medical forensic exams (MFEs) regardless of whether the survivor reports the assault to law enforcement. Five years later, the National Institute of Justice funded a study to determine whether this requirement is being met.