How RAINN’s Policy Team Works to Help Survivors

Recently, as Congress has considered police reform legislation, RAINN has urged House and Senate leaders to include a number of additional changes to help survivors of sexual violence. RAINN’s suggestions address issues that disproportionately impact Black victims of sexual violence, especially Black girls, who are overrepresented in juvenile justice data.

RAINN Shares Recommendations for Additional Police Reforms with Congressional Leadership

Black girls are disproportionately represented in juvenile justice data. According to research, “Black girls are 14% of the youth population, but are 33% of girls who are detained and committed. Seventy-six percent of justice-involved girls have physical and sex abuse histories.”As Congress considers police reform legislation, RAINN has urged House and Senate leaders to include a number of additional reforms to address issues that disproportionately impact Black victims of sexual violence. 

RAINN Working to Secure Federal Funding for Rape Kits, Forensic Nurses

This April, RAINN’s public policy team will be focusing on a few pieces of bipartisan federal legislation vital to getting justice for survivors of sexual violence. As members of Congress meet throughout the month to work on fiscal year 2021 appropriations, “RAINN will be there to make sure that legislators prioritize funding that will give survivors more access to sexual assault forensic nurse examiners and reduces the rape kit backlog,” says Camille Cooper, vice president of public policy.

Critical Rape Kit Backlog Funding Passed By Congress

Congress reauthorized the nation’s primary DNA testing program through 2024. The U.S. Senate voted to renew the Debbie Smith Act, which has increased the use of DNA and has led to more than 192,000 DNA matches in CODIS (the FBI’s DNA database system). The bill had already passed the House, and is now headed for the president to be signed into law.

 

PHOTOS from Capitol Hill: RAINN and CBS Television Studios Host Viewing and Panel Discussion of New Series, Unbelievable

RAINN, along with Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Rep. Ann Wagner (MO-02), and CBS Television Studios, hosted a viewing and panel discussion of the new and critically-acclaimed limited series, Unbelievable on Capitol Hill. The panel discussion focused on the importance of passing the Debbie Smith Act to provide funding to end the rape kit backlog. Another focal point of the conversation was training law enforcement officers in trauma-informed sexual assault investigations.

Closer Look: RAINN’s Public Policy Team

In honor of RAINN’s 25th anniversary, each month we’ll be taking a closer look at the people and programs that are essential in our work to help survivors today and every day. This month, we’re shining a spotlight on RAINN’s public policy team. RAINN’s policy team works at federal and state levels to improve the criminal justice system, prevent sexual assault, and ensure justice for survivors.

Press Conference: RAINN Urges Congress to Renew Debbie Smith Act

Today Debbie Smith, a survivor and advocate, alongside RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, held a press conference announcing delivery of over 32,000 signatures from citizens across the nation urging Congress to pass the Debbie Smith Act when it returns next week.

RAINN Files Amicus Brief in Support of Cosby Conviction

As a court weighs Bill Cosby’s appeal of his conviction, RAINN and its pro bono legal team at Hogan Lovells, LLP, have filed a joint amicus brief arguing to uphold the verdict. The brief makes the case that the testimony of five additional victims who testified against Cosby established a pattern of behavior, and that the experiences of the witnesses were strikingly similar to the experience of Andrea Constand.

RAINN Statement: Rape Kit Backlog Becomes A 2020 Presidential Campaign Issue

RAINN released a statement following Sen. Kamala Harris’ announcement of a plan to eliminate the rape kit backlog. “An important step for Members of the House of Representatives would be to pass S.820, the Debbie Smith Act, which has passed the Senate and is currently awaiting action by House leadership.”

Rape Kit Law at Risk of Expiring Unless Congress Acts

The federal law that helps state crime labs test tens of thousands of rape kits every year, the Debbie Smith Act, will expire this fall unless Congress acts to renew it. Since 2005, there have been more than 455,000 matches of crime scene evidence to offenders’ DNA. Of these matches, 42 percent—more than four out of every 10—are the result of testing made possible by Debbie Smith Act grants.

Pages