State Coalitions and Survivor-Centered Policies

Today’s guest author is Chris Kaiser, Director of Public Policy and General Counsel at the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA). Texas recently became the first state in the nation to implement all of our six legislative pillars of rape kit reform. Here, Chris shares TAASA’s advocacy efforts to enact a statewide tracking system and ensure policies are survivor-centered.

Survivors' Voices Drive Rape Kit Reform in Texas

Today’s guest author is Wendy Davis, former Texas state senator and founder of the advocacy organization Deeds Not Words. Here, she discusses the rape kit reform laws she sponsored in the Senate and addresses the need for survivors’ voices to drive policy solutions.

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.

Landscape of Reform: State Legislation Enacted in 2016

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.

Joyful Heart Foundation's New Study on Victim Notification

“Navigating Notification” includes years of research, best practices, and lessons learned.

New Report Explores Funding of Sexual Assault Exams Nationwide

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.

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