Backlog Snapshot

Untested Kits:




Does Massachusetts law require...
An Audit of Untested Rape Kits?


Tracking of Rape Kits?


Testing of all backlogged rape kits?


Testing of all rape kits in the future?


Victims to be notified of the status of their cases?


Funding for testing kits?


The extent of the untested rape kit backlog in Massachusetts is unknown. Massachusetts law does not require law enforcement agencies to count, track, or test rape kits. 

In 2014, The Accountability Project issued an open records request to bring the number of untested kits in Boston to light. To date, we have not received complete information in response to this request. 

In 2015, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) requested reports from the Massachusetts State Police (MSP) crime lab and police agencies about the number of untested rape kits in their inventory. Only 75 of 351 municipal police departments and the MSP lab submitted reports, and 83% of the police departments that submitted reports reported zero untested kits in their inventory. The ten largest police departments in Massachusetts either did not submit reports or reported zero untested kits in the audit.

In 2016, Massachusetts enacted a law requiring hospitals to notify survivors that, regardless of whether or not they choose to report the crime, their rape kits will be preserved for 15 years. The law also requires all government entities to preserve kits for the duration of the statute of limitations or at least 15 years.

In 2016, Massachusetts has three state bills related to rape kit reform pending:

  • HB-3454, which would require law enforcement agencies to submit rape kits to a crime lab within 30 days and the crime lab to complete analysis within 180 days. The bill mandates the submission of all previously untested kits and a report to the legislature (by a date to be determined before final passage of the bill).
  • SB-836, which would establish a statewide rape kit tracking system; require hospitals to notify police within four hours after a rape kit is collected; require law enforcement to collect and deliver kits to a lab within 24 hours; and enhance victim notification rights. 
  • SB-1134, which would direct the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety to conduct a study that would examine the effectiveness and cost of a rape kit tracking system accessible to both law enforcement and survivors.


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