Working Together to End the Rape Kit Backlog

June 6, 2013 | BY Sarah Tofte | FILED UNDER JHF BLOG >

We have heard some exciting news and we wanted you to hear it from us first. We also want to ask for your help advocating for change. 

As you know, Joyful Heart is dedicated to ending the rape kit backlog nationwide. Every year, more than 200,000 individuals report their rape to the police. Almost all are asked to have a rape kit collected, a process that can take four to six hours to complete. The potential benefits from this invasive process are enormous: testing of the DNA evidence in a rape kit can identify an unknown perpetrator, confirm the presence of a known assailant, corroborate the victim's account of the rape and exonerate innocent suspects. To accomplish these things, however, the kits must be tested. In the United States, it is estimated that there are hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits in police storage and crime lab facilities simply waiting to be tested. Untested rape kits represent lost justice for rape victims, as they often mean a rape investigation was cut short before the offender could be brought to justice. Currently, Detroit is working to test more than 11,000 kits that were transferred to a warehouse by the police and left behind, despite significantly limited resources. 

But we are not in this alone. After meeting with Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder in March, we have learned that President Obama has identified $20 million in his budget request to Congress to help the Department of Justice address the backlog. At a time of budget cuts across the federal government, this investment shows the significance of our work in shining a light on this important issue. We will continue to work with members of Congress to make sure this funding stays in the final proposals that become law.

To read yesterday's op-ed from our founder, Mariska Hargitay, and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy on this important development, visit The Huffington Post.

To learn more about Joyful Heart's work to end the rape kit backlog, visit

What you can do:

Call your represetative and senators and let them know that funding the Department of Justice's efforts to eliminate the rape kit backlog is critical and must be made a priority in this year's budget.

Click here to find contact information for your representative and here to find your senators.

We thank you for your continued support.

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