Washington State has cleared its Rape Kit backlog. It took a fearless survivor who persisted, and a team of State officials to support and fund the quest, but this herculean task has been accomplished as a step towards justice for assaulted women. Does your state have a Rape Kit testing backlog? Most likely yes.
End the Backlog has worked to characterize both legislative and executive action to process Rape Kits.
In 2022, Michigan, Vermont, and West Virginia announced ending their backlog through non-legislative efforts, joining 16 other states and Washington, D.C. There are 17 other states that continue testing their backlogged kits. Statewide rape kit tracking systems went live in New Hampshire, Missouri, and Vermont. Nebraska released its first inventory report, which yielded 2,125 untested kits. As part of our advocacy efforts, we sent letters of support for 11 bills and provided written and oral testimony via phone or video conference for three bills.
In 2022, at least 25,000 untested rape kits sat in law enforcement agencies and crime labs across the country. This figure only accounts for data reported by 30 states and Washington, DC; the total backlog number is unknown.
End the backlog shares their updates and their 6 pillar approach to Rape Kit Reform
Rape Kit Reform in 2022
Example State Rape Kit profile
Featuring the 6 pillars of reform: Arkansas Find your State
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Rape Kit Testing Funding
The Debbie Smith Act provides local and state crime laboratories resources to end the backlog of untested DNA evidence from unsolved crimes, analyze DNA samples and increase the capacity to process DNA to guard against future backlogs. Since it first became law in 2004, more than 860,000 DNA cases have been processed and 3.5 million database offender samples were uploaded to CODIS.
Please urge your senators and representative to co-sponsor and support the bipartisan and bicameral Debbie Smith Act of 2023 (S. 499 and H.R. 1105). Message Congress NOW!