To end the rape kit backlog in the United States and ensure that it never recurs, state and federal rape kit policies must change. Progress on rape kit reform is happening. Be a part of it.
Cities and states are going into their storage facilities and counting their rape kits to assess whether they have a backlog. Jurisdictions with backlogs are finding the resources to test their rape kits, changing their policies to prevent future backlogs, and devoting the resources necessary to fully investigate all leads from rape kit testing. State legislatures are introducing and enacting laws that require statewide tracking and testing of rape kits. The federal government is offering leadership, resources and research to fix the problem, making the reduction and elimination of the nationwide rape kit backlog a priority.
Last year, the Bureau of Justice Assistance announced a new $41 million grant program to address the rape kit backlog. This new initiative is now providing local communities resources to test backlogged kits in their police storage facilities, create multi-disciplinary teams to investigate and prosecute cases connected to the backlog, and address the need for victim notification and re-engagement with the criminal justice system.
Your support and advocacy on this issue has been so important to this work. We know that we would not be here without the more than 3,000 letters to Members of Congress, and hundreds of thousands of posts on social media encouraging members to make this investment.
We need your help again. President Obama’s budget for Fiscal Year 2016 includes continued funding of this important grant program and Congress is working on funding bills now. Leadership in the United States Senate and House of Representatives need to hear from their constituents about the value of tracking untested rape kits, testing every rape kit (link to why testing matters page), investigating every rape case and prosecuting every offender. This dedicated funding is crucial to jurisdictions working to promote rape kit reform.
Please join us in sending a brief note to your Members of Congress to ask for continued funding in 2016 for this critical program. Tell them how important public safety is to you and your community and that survivors deserve a path to justice and healing.
Much of the progress on rape kit reform is happening at the state level (link to state pages). Governors, state senators and representatives across the country are working to enact legislation and implement policies and practices that require tracking and testing of rape kits, as well as victim notification laws. Make sure your state is doing all it can do to address the problem of untested rape kits.
Your state officials still need to hear your voice. Write to them and urge them to end the backlog. Get started below: