Media Archive by Topic: rape kit backlog

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The risk we take with Charlotte’s rape kit backlog
June 29, 2015 • The Charlotte Observer
Maile M. Zambuto
From Maile M. Zambuto, Chief Executive Officer of the Joyful Heart Foundation, and Monika Johnson Hostler, Executive Director of the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the President of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, read more
Investigative Report: How Victim-Blaming Led to the Rape Kit Backlog
June 22, 2015 • RH Reality Check
Sofia Resnick
“I honestly understand why a lot of people don’t report rape,” Kiyona Phillips told RH Reality Check in an interview. “Because if you’re not half-dead or beat in the face or it’s not recorded in any kind of way, you really have to prove that this happened to you.” -Kiyona Phillips read more
Will new focus on rape kit tests put thousands behind bars?
May 30, 2015 • Associated Press
Sharon Cohen
The evidence piled up for years, abandoned in police property rooms, warehouses and crime labs. Now, tens of thousands of sexual assault kits are giving up their secrets — and rapists who've long remained free may finally face justice. read more
We’re Letting Untested Rape Kits Languish In Warehouses And It Has Huge Consequences
May 21, 2015 • Think Progress
TARA CULP-RESSLER

Despite more than a billion dollars in public funding dedicated to helping law enforcement officials test the DNA evidence collected in rape kits, there’s still a huge backlog of untested kits collecting dust in storage facilities across the country, according to advocates who testified at a Senate committee hearing this week.

Because DNA evidence is collected on a local level, we have no idea exactly how many rape kits are languishing unopened in massive warehouses. Advocacy groups in the field believe that the total number is in the hundreds of thousands.

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Joyful Heart Reveals Rape Kit Backlog Data, but More Remains Unknown
May 20, 2015 • Nonprofit Quarterly
SHAFAQ HASAN

The Joyful Heart Foundation’s Accountability Project, an initiative that’s part of the #EndTheBacklog program focused on identifying the extent of the national rape kit backlog, has released new information detailing the number of untested kits in several cities nationwide.

Through public record requests, the foundation discovered the following totals:

Charlotte, North Carolina: 1,019 untested kits

Jacksonville, Florida: 1,943 kits

Kansas City, Missouri: 1,324 kits

Portland, Oregon: 1,931 kits

San Diego, California: 2,873 kits

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Taking Sexual Assault Seriously: The Rape Kit Backlog and Human Rights
Sarah Haacke Byrd
Statement for the record for Sarah Haacke Byrd, Managing Director for the Joyful Heart Foundation before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution. 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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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
Man Charged in 1995 New York City Rape and Robbery After DNA Match
May 4, 2015 • Jezebel
Anna Merlan

The Manhattan District Attorney has charged Joseph Giardala, 44, with raping and robbing a woman in New York City’s West Village in 1995. New York couldn’t identify Giardala by name after the rape, but entered his DNA into a national database, where it matched with a case in Florida earlier this year. In the years since allegedly raping a 25-year-old woman at knifepoint, Giardala has lived in at least eleven different U.S. states and appears to have traveled out of the country dozens of times.

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Rape Kit Testing Law Passes, Heads to Ohio Governor’s Desk
Dec. 19, 2014 • RH Reality Check
Nina Liss-Schultz
The Ohio house passed a bill Wednesday meant to completely clear a backlog of untested rape kits in law enforcement offices across the state. 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
Spending Bill Includes $41 Million to Help Rape Victims
Dec. 12, 2014 • ABC 2 WMAR Baltimore
WMAR Staff
Lawmakers have allocated $41 million to help rape victims as part of the $1.1 trillion spending plan approved by Congress Thursday night. read more
San Francisco Police Make Progress on Backlog of Untested Rape Kits
Dec. 12, 2014 • CBS San Francisco
CBS San Francisco Staff
The San Francisco Police Department announced this week that it has cleared a backlog of sexual assault kits dating back more than 10 years. read more
Money to Address Rape Kit Backlog in Congressional Spending Bill
Dec. 10, 2014 • BuzzFeed
Alison Vingiano
Advocates praised the inclusion of $41 million to handle thousands of untested rape kits. read more
National Rape Kit Backlog Gets a $35 Million Boost
Dec. 9, 2014 • Epoch Times
Genevieve Belmaker
The massive national backlog of rape kits is being targeted by Manhattan’s district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr. According to Vance, there is a backlog of “hundreds of thousands of rape kits” across the country in police warehouses. read more
SPD Leaves most Rape Kit Evidence on the Shelf
Nov. 25, 2014 • King 5 News
Linda Byron
The Seattle Police Department's records show that in a little over a decade, 1,641 rape kits were booked into evidence. But only 365 of kits were tested, just 22% of the total. read more
Rape Kit Contribution Should Spur Congressional Action
Nov. 16, 2014 • The Washington Post
Editorial Board
Under the program announced in New York, $35 million in civil forfeiture assets will be made available to localities and states across the country to test some 70,000 rape kits, which are a collection of physical evidence painstakingly taken from victims of sexual assault. read more
No Longer Ignored, Evidence Solves Rape Cases Years Later
August 2, 2014 • The New York Times
Erik Eckholm
Like hundreds of thousands of other rape kits across the country containing evidence gathered from victims, that of Ms. Ybos lay untested for years on a storeroom shelf. read more
Memphis Police official says rape kit backlog is shrinking
July 15, 2014 • The Commercial Appeal
Daniel Connolly
As of June, 1,185 previously untested kits have been tested. An additional 2,495 kits remained at forensic labs, and 5,553 remained untested. read more
Senate Delay Threatens Funding for Thousands of Untested Rape
June 23, 2014 • Autostraddle
Kaitlyn
It’s a problem of unknown magnitude — recent estimates place the numbersomewhere around 100,000 — but the consequences of the nationwide rape kit testing backlog are clear and appalling. 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 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
Rape survivors face resistance in fight to test rape kit backlog
May 29, 2014 • MSNBC
Meredith Clark
After San Francisco resident Heather Marlowe was drugged and raped at the city’s annual Bay to Breakers race in May 2010, she trusted local police to process her rape kit–the evidence collected during a forensic exam–and update her if any leads turned up. When they didn’t call for more than a year, she began researching why. read more
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
There Are 400,000 Unprocessed Rape Kits in the U.S. How Can This Be?
March 12, 2014 • Slate
Katy Waldman
Last week, Vice President Joe Biden announced a White House proposal to pour $35 million into testing backlogged rape kits and bringing sex offenders to justice. read more

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