Survivors Unite to Lift the Veil on the Rape Kit Backlog

Survivors pose with a poster about the rape kit backlogThe Rape Kit Action Project this month brought eight survivors together in Washington, DC, to learn about the nation’s rape kit backlog — and how they can be part of the solution.

The Rape Kit Action Project, led by RAINN, the National Center for Victims of Crime, and Natasha’s Justice Project, is calling on state legislators to require law enforcement agencies to inventory un-submitted sexual assault evidence kits and devise policies for prompt testing. So far this year, with support and advice from RKAP’s experts, California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia have passed new laws, and legislators in at least 22 other states have introduced bills or are expected to soon introduce bills. Texas, Colorado and Illinois had similar laws enacted in prior legislative sessions.

The meeting included an overview of states’ current and proposed laws and a tour of the labs at Bode Technology, where scientists are analyzing rape kits from around the country. Said participant and RAINN Speakers Bureau Member Joanie Scheske, whose rapist was caught 18 years after the crime thanks to a DNA hit, “We can and will make a difference in the lives of so many, by standing up for those who cannot do it for themselves.”

“RKAP is working closely with state lawmakers across the country and we expect the 2015 legislative session to be a busy one for rape kit backlog policy efforts. We’re incredibly grateful to have the voices of these and other survivors to amplify our message that every rape kit counts,” said RAINN’s vice president for public policy, Becca O’Connor.

Stay informed about the Rape Kit Action Project, and be sure to check out opportunities to Act with RAINN to address the rape kit backlog.

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