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The Backlog

END THE BACKLOG Media Center

Across the country, the rape kit backlog is making headlines. Journalists are uncovering backlogs, jurisdictions are implementing reforms to track and test rape kits and citizens are taking action. In the Media Center, you'll find the latest information about the backlog, including: commentary from the END THE BACKLOG staff and backlog reformers, first-person testimonials from those impacted by the backlog, an archive of news articles, op-eds, investigative reports, legislation and government publications we've identified, and more.

EndTheBacklogNovember 17, 2017

Creating A Victim Notification Procedure in Fayetteville

Lieutenant John Somerindyke from the Fayetteville, North Carolina Police Department (FPD) shares the department's efforts to establish a victim notification protocol to re-engage survivors in the criminal justice system. As a 2015 Sexual Assault Kit Initiative grantee, FPD was tasked with testing backlogged rape kits, notifying victims, and investigating cases.

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EndTheBacklogNovember 16, 2017

Supporting Cold Case Victims through Notification in Cuyahoga County

Marya Simmons is the supervisor of the Victim Witness Unit at the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. Since 2013, she has worked to support survivors through the prosecutorial process. Here, she discusses her role as a system-based advocate on the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) Task Force, which handles cold cases associated with rape kits that have not previously been submitted.

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EndTheBacklogOctober 24, 2017

Portrait of a Serial Rapist

Testing rape kits swiftly helps link crimes together and identify serial rapists sooner. Studies of perpetrators identified through testing backlogged kits show that serial offenders commit many types of violent crimes, including crimes against intimate partners and acquaintances. James Drane of Detroit is one of the many perpetrators linked to both domestic violence and sexual assault.

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EndTheBacklogOctober 23, 2017

Serial Predators: The Connection Between Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse are inextricably linked. While Joyful Heart’s top policy priority is ending the backlog of untested rape kits, we frame this work to achieve our broader mission: ending this violence forever. This Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we explore the overlap between domestic violence and sexual assault, and how efforts to end the backlog have brought to light the prevalence of this overlap.

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EndTheBacklogAugust 28, 2017

Inside Look: Policy & Advocacy Summer Internship

This summer, the Policy & Advocacy team at Joyful Heart welcomed two undergraduate interns to our New York office. Here, Emma and Julia share their reflections and findings from the summer.

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EndTheBacklogAugust 28, 2017

Federal Government Boosts Rape Kit Reform Efforts

The movement to end the untested rape kit backlog got a significant boost from the federal government this month when it issued the first-ever national guidelines for handling rape kits.

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EndTheBacklogAugust 28, 2017

Advocating for Rape Kit Reform at the NCSL Summit

Earlier this month, Joyful Heart’s Policy and Advocacy team attended the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Summit in Boston. Over the course of three days, we connected with lawmakers and staffers from across the country about how to end the backlog of untested rape kits.

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EndTheBacklogJuly 19, 2017

Rape Kit Tracking System: From Idea to Law

Today’s guest author is Texas State Representative Donna Howard, who has served in the Texas House since 2006, representing District 48 in Travis County. Here, Rep. Howard reflects on the effort to pass H.B. 281, which established a statewide tracking system for rape kits. She writes today’s blog to inspire legislators and advocates across the country.

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