“In my experience, you need three elements to achieve comprehensive and lasting reform—political will, commitment and resources.” - Sarah Tofte, Vice President of Policy & Advocacy, Joyful Heart Foundation
Ending the rape kit backlog will take a coordinated effort and deep commitment at all levels of our government and in communities across the country. Elected officials must ensure that sufficient funding is dedicated not only to processing untested rape kits, but also to investigating leads and moving cases forward to prosecution. They must require law enforcement to keep track of every kit booked into evidence and to make information about backlog numbers public. They must allocate the resources—money, staff, time and technology—to make these reforms happen.
Law enforcement must commit to giving sexual assault survivors greater access to justice by testing every rape kit, regardless of the facts of the case, and treating rape as seriously as any other crime. They must investigate rape cases thoroughly and pursue leads resulting from rape kit testing. They must believe survivors and honor their courageous decision to report the assault and undergo the rape kit collection process.
We all must get involved and become educated about what our communities are doing to bring healing and justice to survivors.
In this section, learn about how individuals and entities are making progress toward ending the backlog: