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The Backlog

ENDTHEBACKLOG Blog

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 ENDTHEBACKLOG 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.

THE BACKLOG BLOGDecember 27, 2011

FBI Will Update Its Definition of Rape

FBI Director Robert Mueller has announced that the agency will update its definition of rape, taking effect in the spring of 2012. The FBI currently defines rape as the “carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” As we have noted before, experts consider this definition to be too narrow, and it leads to the under-reporting of thousands of sexual assaults across the U.S. each year.

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ENDTHEBACKLOGDecember 12, 2011

Ohio Attorney General Recommends New Policy for Testing Rape Kits

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced last Monday that a new unit at the state’s crime lab will handle backlogged rape kits. Four newly hired forensic scientists will staff the new unit and are expected to process 1,500 cases in their first year and double that amount in subsequent years.

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ENDTHEBACKLOGDecember 6, 2011

The 400 Project Leads to Multiple Charges Against Detroit Man

During a 2010 audit of the Detroit crime lab, which was shut down in 2008 due to testing irregularities, officials discovered approximately 11,000 untested rape kits in Detroit storage facilities. Following the discovery, a collaborative team of law enforcement officials, prosecutors, researchers and victim advocates came together to work toward eliminating the backlog.

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EndTheBacklogOctober 26, 2011

Cleveland Heights Under-Reports Sexual Assaults

A recent investigation by The Plain Dealer into almost 90 police reports made in Cleveland Heights reveals that officials have incorrectly categorized and chronically misinformed the public of the number of sex crimes reported in the city.

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EndTheBacklogOctober 20, 2011

Update in California: Governor Vetoes Rape Kit Bill

Governor Jerry Brown has returned Assembly Bill 322 to the California State Assembly without his signature. AB 322 would have established a two-and-a-half-year pilot program to test all rape kits in ten California counties that make arrests in fewer than 12% of reported forcible rapes.

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ENDTHEBACKLOGOctober 19, 2011

Progress on the Rape Kit Backlog in New Orleans

The New Orleans Police Department (NODP) is making progress on its backlog of over 800 untested rape kits. Various local news agencies reported that the NOPD expects that all kits, some of which date back to the 1980s, will be tested by early 2012.

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ENDTHEBACKLOGOctober 17, 2011

FBI to Revise Definition of Rape in Uniform Crime Report

After a decades-long campaign by women’s rights advocates, the FBI recently announced that it would revise the definition of rape in the Uniform Crime Report (UCR). Written more than 80 years ago, the current definition is problematic for several reasons.

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THE BACKLOG BLOGSeptember 25, 2011

New Case in Illinois Is a Deeply Troubling Reminder of the Importance of Testing Rape Kits

A corrections officer in Illinois has been charged with sexually assaulting a 10-year-old child in 1997 after a rape kit that was part of a backlog in Harvey, Illinois was finally tested. The case is another powerful and deeply troubling example that every untested rape kit represents the failure to bring justice to a survivor and to protect the public.

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