Media Archive by Topic: rape kit backlog

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Nurses who deal with sexual assault cases are 'a special kind of person'
November 5th, 2009 • Times Herald-Record
Heather Yakin
Caring for and collecting evidence from survivors of sexual assault takes a special mix of compassion and technical expertise. read more
'Law & Order: SVU' actress Mariska Hargitay decries delay in rape kit testing
March 10, 2014 • Detroit Free Press
Paul Egan and Gina Damron
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy on Monday enlisted some star power in her push for funding and legislation to help clear a backlog of thousands of untested Detroit rape kits. read more
'Law and Order' Star Testifies About Rape Kits, Sexual Violence to Congress
June 16, 2017 • NBC New York
NBC New York

Mariska Hargitay, who plays the tough, dogged lead on "Law & Order: SVU," testified on behalf of real-life rape survivors Friday in front of a task force on sexual violence in the Capitol.

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'SVU' star Mariska Hargitay joins forces with pros to revamp DNA evidence tool for rape victims
October 22nd, 2009 • NY Daily News
Patrick O'Shaughnessy
A new kit for collecting forensic evidence from rape victims will be unveiled today - the first revamping of the crucial tool in 20 years. read more
2011: The Year of National Rape Kit Backlog Reform
December 20th, 2010 • The Huffington Post
Sarah Tofte
The end of a year inspires bold predictions for the next one. At the end of this year, I am predicting that 2011 will be a year of unprecedented reform of the backlog of untested rape kits in the United State read more
5 ways to help end rape in Alaska
February 4, 2014 • CNN Opinion
John D. Sutter
Join organizations in Alaska in their efforts to help to make it a safer place. read more
A disturbing trend: evidence in rape cases often goes untested
August 2016 • Seattle Magazine
Elaine Porterfield
The backlog of untested rape kits goes back years, and it's hindering the justice process. read more
A flawed, inconsistent police response to sexual assault in Maryland
December 3, 2016 • The Baltimore Sun
Catherine Rentz and Alison Knezevich

Catherine Becket hadn't forgotten that evening three years ago in her Parkville apartment, though she tried.

Then, as she watched with outrage while Stanford University student Brock Turner served three months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, she resolved to confront her own memories. She called Baltimore County police this summer about reopening her sexual assault case.

But she soon discovered that would be difficult.

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Actress Hargitay Backs Detroit Rape Kit Project
March 10, 2014 • Associated Press
Corey Williams
Actress Mariska Hargitay, who portrays a police detective on television, on Monday pledged her support for a real-life crime-fighting effort: quicker testing for a backlog of thousands of rape kits in the Detroit area and across Michigan. read more
Actress Hargitay, Prosecutor Worthy discuss rape kit project
March 10, 2014 • My Fox Detroit
Associated Press
Actress Mariska Hargitay joined Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy Monday to discuss proposed legislation that would speed up sexual assault kit testing. read more
Actress Mariska Hargitay Joins Kym Worthy In Push For Rape Kit Testing
March 10, 2014 • CBS News
CBS News
An award-winning actress is joining forces with Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy in her push for legislation and funding to clear a backlog of 11,000 untested rape kits in Detroit. read more
Advocacy group says Kansas City has 1,324 untested rape kits
May 19, 2015 • KSHB Kansas City
Lexi Sutter

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A national rape victim advocacy group says Kansas City has 1,324 untested rape kits.

The nonprofit Joyful Heart Foundation released information Tuesday about testing backlogs in five cities. It says it hopes the cities will "take aggressive and comprehensive steps toward rape kit reform."

“We do feel that the transparency and accountability around releasing the numbers will pave the way for true reform around rape kit testing,” explained Ilse Knecht, the senior advisor for policy and advocacy for the Joyful Heart Foundation.

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Advocates praise senate bill on sexual assault victims’ rights
may 24, 2016 • The New York Times
Emmarie Huetteman

WASHINGTON — Advocates for victims of sexual assault on Tuesday praised the Senate’s unanimous approval of a bill that would establish a set of rights for victims, including the right to be informed of the results of forensic tests and to have evidence preserved.

 ...

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America's Cold-Case Crisis
February 25th, 2011 • The Daily Beast
Linda Fairstein
Testing old rape kits could put countless rapists in prison—and exonerate others who were wrongly convicted. Linda Fairstein on the tragedy of letting these truth-tellers collect dust. read more
An Incomprehensible Failure
September 20, 2016 • The Huffington Post
Sarah Haacke Byrd

Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice released its much-anticipated report about policing practices in Baltimore, Maryland. Included in their examination is scathing evidence that victims of sexual assault in the city are denied equal and full access to the law.

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Assault survivors have waited too long
March 4, 2017 • Albuquerque Journal
Jayann Sepich and Ilse Knecht

Every year, thousands of individuals who have been sexually assaulted take the step of reporting the crime to the police. They submit to an examination of their body and have evidence collected in a process that typically takes four to six hours. The evidence is saved in a “Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit” – a rape kit.

DNA evidence is an invaluable investigative tool. When tested, communities can identify serial perpetrators, take dangerous offenders off the streets, exonerate the innocent and prevent future crimes.

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Attorney General's report calls for statewide standards on rape kits
January 3, 2017 • The Baltimore Sun
Alison Knezevich

Police in Maryland should test nearly all rape kits, notify victims of the results and store the kits for a fixed period of time, Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said.

A report issued to lawmakers by Frosh's office Tuesday said a lack of statewide guidelines on when to test rape kits and how long to keep them has resulted in police departments adopting inconsistent policies. Some keep the kits indefinitely, but others throw them out.

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Being Raped In A Bankrupt City
March 27, 2014 • BuzzFeed
Emily Orley
Wayne County, Mich., the region where Detroit is located, has been riddled with problems for decades. But when a massive backlog of rape kits was discovered, a few mighty voices decided to work on changing the way sexual assault is viewed and how victims are treated, while also opening every single kit. read more
California to propose an end to statute of limitations in rape cases
Nov. 10, 2015 • Al Jazeera
Marisa Taylor
At least 16 states have no statute of limitations for rape cases in face of rape kit backlog, delays in reporting crimes. read more
Cleveland police join cities nationwide testing old evidence from sexual-assault cases
April 22nd, 2012 • Cleveland Plain Dealer
Rachel Dissell
More than two years ago, Cleveland police started an ambitious project to account for thousands of pieces of evidence in sexual assault cases going back at least 20 years. In doing so, they join a growing number of cities across America that are testing old evidence that has the potential to solve cold cases and offer some solace for victims, even in cases that can't be prosecuted. read more
Congress Moves Forward on Rape-Kit Funding
June 5, 2014 • Ms. Magazine
James Hildebrand
The U.S. Senate subcommittee on commerce, justice, science and related agencies showed its support this week for combating the backlog of untested rape kits by including $41 million in its 2015 fiscal year spending bill as part of a community-based sexual assault response reform initiative. read more
Congress poised to approve $41 million to help clear backlog of untested rape kits
June 16, 2014 • The Washington Post
Spencer S. Hsu
Congress is poised to approve $41 million sought by the Obama administration to examine untested DNA evidence collected from rape victims and held by state and local police across the country. read more
Congress Poised To Dedicate $41 Million To Help End Backlog of Rape Kits
Dec. 11, 2014 • CBS New York
CBS NY Staff
“It’s a huge deal,” said Sarah Tofte, vice president of policy and advocacy for the Joyful Heart Foundation, which is pushing for ending the rape kit backlog. read more
Congress slated to increase rape kit funding by $45M
December 16, 2015 • USA Today
Steve Reilly

WASHINGTON -- Lawmakers are positioned to devote $45 million in the 2016 fiscal year to combat the nation’s accumulation of untested sexual assault kits.

The funding, included as part of the omnibus spending bill Congress released Wednesday, is aimed at helping local law enforcement agencies test backlogged sexual assault evidence kits and perform related activities as part of a U.S. Justice Department initiative.

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Despite DNA, the Rapist Got Away
May 19, 2015 • The New York Times
Nicholas Kristof
Sexual assault thrives with impunity, and that’s one reason we should routinely test rape kits, to chip away at the impunity and raise the costs of rape so that it becomes less common. read more

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