In order 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.
But we need your help. Our leadership in the federal government and in state capitols throughout the country need to hear from their constituents about the value of tracking untested rape kits, testing every rape kit, investigating every rape case and prosecuting every offender.
UPDATE (September 19, 2014): Heeding the recommendations outlined in President Obama's 2015 budget proposal, as well as calls from survivors, advocates, law enforcement and prosecutors from across the country, the Senate Appropriations Committee has included $41 million in its spending bill for Fiscal Year 2015 to help end the nationwide rape kit backlog at local law enforcement agencies. This new funding would provide local communities resources to: test backlogged kits in police storage facilities; create multi-disciplinary teams to investigate and prosecute cases connected to the backlog; and address the need for survivor re-engagement with the criminal justice system. While the House of Representatives approved $41 million in funding, the Senate could not agree on unrelated amendments and was forced to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government through December 2014. The resolution did not include money for any new programs, including the $41 million for rape kit reform. When the Senate returns to consider how to fund the government for 2015, this funding must be a priority.
Your state officials still need to hear your voice. Write to them and urge them to end the backlog. Get started below:
Send a letter of gratitude to President Obama, Vice President Biden and Attorney General Holder for prioritizing rape kit reform. Get started below: