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2013-2014 Accomplishments Policy and Advocacy
The cornerstone of our Advocacy work is our effort to end the backlog of untested rape kits. Across the United States, there are hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits—each possibly containing DNA evidence collected from a survivor's body in the aftermath of a rape.
Over the course of this past year, our national efforts to ENDTHEBACKLOG have grown significantly due to the partnerships Joyful Heart has formed with jurisdictions and stakeholders from the public and private sectors; ENDTHEBACKLOG.org, our premier website on information about the backlog; and significant investments in our media and awareness strategy around this issue.
Local Partnership to ENDTHEBACKLOG
In 2009, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office discovered 11,341 untested rape kits sitting in a Detroit Police Department storage facility, representing—at the time— the largest known backlog in the United States and thousands of lost opportunities for healing and justice for survivors. For three years, Joyful Heart has been part of the collaborative partnership in a National Institute of Justice-funded program to assess the causes of Detroit’s backlog and develop a plan to end it. Though the grant program concluded in November 2013, Joyful Heart continues to be a partner in Detroit, joining prosecutors, law enforcement, researchers, city officials and advocates to continue to implement a plan for testing Detroit’s remaining untested kits, investigate all leads generated as a result of testing and ensure that the survivors are notified of the status of their cases.