Joyful Heart's Project End The Back Log Needs Your Help *9,000 Rape Kits still on shelf*
In October, we first told you about The Accountability Project, our initiative to uncover the extent of the rape kit backlog in cities across the United States. From the first four cities that provided data to us—obtained through public records requests—we discovered more than 12,000 untested rape kits sitting in storage facilities.
Today, we’ve expanded our knowledge about the rape kit crisis nationwide with the release of data on the number of untested kits from five additional cities:
Charlotte, North Carolina: 1,019 kits
Jacksonville, Florida: 1,943 kits
Kansas City, Missouri: 1,324 kits
Portland, Oregon: 1,931 kits
San Diego, California: 2,873 kits
In total, over 9,000 more kits.
We commend these cities for sharing their data with us. Transparency and yes, accountability, are the first steps toward reform. Survivors deserve the chance for justice. They deserve everything we can give to help them heal. Now that these jurisdictions have shared the number of untested rape kits in storage, we hope they will take the necessary steps to test these kits, investigate and prosecute these cases, engage survivors with care and compassion, and ensure the backlog never reoccurs.
The fact remains that there is more about the rape kit backlog that we don’t know than we do know. There is no comprehensive, national data on the nature and scope of the rape kit backlog. Few state governments and no federal agencies track this data. Across cities and counties, there are vast differences in the way law enforcement officials track and report rape kit data. These are some of the reasons we’ve undertaken The Accountability Project.
Tomorrow, Joyful Heart’s Managing Director, Sarah Haacke Byrd, will be testifying before Congress on the need for a continued national response to the backlog of thousands of rape kits. She will speak at the United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution’s hearing, “Taking Sexual Assault Seriously: The Rape Kit Backlog and Human Rights.” You can watch live tomorrow starting at 2:30pm ET here.
This week is an important one in our work to ENDTHEBACKLOG. At this critical time, we ask you to join us in two ways:
Write to your elected officials.
Congress is currently considering whether to continue funding the Justice Department’s new $41 million program, which is helping communities end their backlogs with comprehensive reforms. More than 9,000 untested kits in five cities alone: it’s proof that jurisdictions need resources to end the backlog. Please take just a moment to urge your members of Congress to approve this critical funding.
Make a donation to our ENDTHEBACKLOG work.
Your donation is an investment in healing, justice and safety. Joyful Heart is at the forefront of reform efforts at the local, state and federal levels. We are uncovering backlogs and increasing transparency through initiatives like The Accountability Project. We are drawing attention to the backlog like never before. We need your help to do it all. Donate today to continue to support these efforts.
Chief Executive Officer
Joyful Heart Foundation