Rape Kit Action Project

Untested Rape Kits Are a Nationwide Problem

Does Your State Have a Plan?

Rape Kit Action Project

States are acting to

Mandate a statewide audit of untested kits

Establish statewide policies on rape kit testing requirements

Create a plan to address the backlog of untested kits

Rape Kit Action Project

At least 100,000 faces

One big problem

Rape Kit Action Project

We are leaders

Committed to making a difference so that victims receive justice and rapists are held accountable

Rape Kit Action Project

Act today

Waiting only helps criminals

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Who We AreTrusted, national experts.

The Rape Kit Action Project (RKAP) formed in 2013. We are leaders in the field, jointly committed to making a difference so that victims receive justice and rapists are held accountable. We offer policymakers:

Experience

Combined, RKAP Steering Committee members have more than 50 years’ experience in victim advocacy and public policy. From legislative drafting and advocacy to harnessing and leveraging grassroots and media sources, we’ve got you covered

Expertise

We’re experts in the field of forensic DNA and its application to solve and reduce crime. We can arm policymakers with an overview of state and federal laws and the information and tools they need to ensure their city or state doesn’t wind up tomorrow’s negative headline.

Steering Committee

 
The RKAP Steering Committee is made of representatives from national leaders fighting to end sexual violence.

National Center for Victims of Crime

National Center for Victims of Crime

The National Center for Victims of Crime has, for more than 25 years, served as the nation’s most comprehensive resource and advocacy organization dedicated to supporting victims of crime and those who serve them. The National Center for Victims of Crime established, through a grant from the Office for Violence Against Women, the DNA Resource Center, which is a source for training, technical assistance, and information about the use of DNA in the criminal justice system.

Natasha's Justice Project

Natasha's Justice Project

The mission of Natasha’s Justice Project (NJP) is to eliminate the nation’s rape kit backlog crisis and empower survivors of sexual assault through education, advocacy, and funding. Natasha Alexenko, founder and spokesperson, is a survivor of sexual assault. Her story was featured in HBO’s critically acclaimed documentary, Sex Crimes Unit. In 2008, nearly 14 years after she was violently attacked at gunpoint, her perpetrator was found through a DNA match, thanks to the dedication of New York City’s Cold Case Unit.

RAINN

RAINN

RAINN is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and rainn.org) which has helped more than 2 million people since 1994. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual assault, help victims, and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. RAINN has fought for enactment and renewal of key laws, including the Debbie Smith Act and DNA Fingerprint Act and works closely with lawmakers and the administration to protect funding for DNA programs to combat sexual violence.

Joyful Heart Foundation

Joyful Heart Foundation

The mission of the Joyful Heart Foundation is to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues. Since 2008, Joyful Heart has made ending the rape kit backlog in the United States a top priority. Joyful Heart works to advocate for comprehensive reforms, uncover new backlogs, conduct and share research on victim notification practices, and expand the national dialogue on the importance of rape kit testing.

12000kits discovered in Memphis alone.
20000kits discovered in Texas.
4000kits discovered in Illinois.
4000kits discovered in Cleveland alone.

The Problem

At least 100,000 Faces. One Big Problem.
Based on only a handful of public reports, we know that more than 100,000 sexual assault forensic evidence kits (“rape kits”) are unaccounted for and untested. Each of these kits represents a victim seeking justice and a potential serial criminal who may be wandering the streets. This is inexcusable and we must do better.
 
One is Too Many.
We don’t know – yet – exactly how many rape kits await testing. In almost every instance, criminal justice professionals initially  reported that they did not expect to find large numbers. But once counted, the numbers are alarming.

Untested Rape Kits: the Issue, the Impact, and the Response

Webinar

Want to learn more?  Watch RKAP’s webinar about our nation’s untested sexual assault kit problem. Hear about the scope of the problem, commonly used terminology (e.g. “backlog” vs. “untested” kits), and federal and state policy initiatives underway to process evidence, hold perpetrators accountable, and bring answers to victims. Also learn first-hand from a survivor of sexual assault about the human impact of this problem.

News ItemsRKAP in the News

States’ Response

In response to this national epidemic, states have been swift to act. Here, we provide an overview of the types of provisions states are passing to address rape kit backlog concerns and protect victims of sexual violence.

 

Audits, Inventories, and Tracking

Audits Inventories and Tracking

Municipal Responses

Municipal Responses

Statewide Plan

Statewide Plan

Submission and Testing Timelines

Submission and Testing Timelines

Testing Mandates

Testing Mandates

Victim Notification and Protections

Victim Notification and Protections

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Answers to frequently asked questions and resources for learning more about the backlog and what’s being done to address it.

What are you asking state policymakers to do?

If your state hasn’t already done so, we’re asking you to introduce legislation requiring, at minimum, a statewide accounting of un-submitted, unanalyzed rape kits and establish policies around rape kits.

 

Do you have model legislation?

We are mindful that each state’s needs and resources are unique.  We can point you toward suggested language and help you tailor it to your state.  We’re also ready to help write things like talking points, tweets, and press releases.

 

I’m with the media – can we talk?

Definitely. Email or call us at  571.494.1731.

 

 

 

Can you tell me how many kits are backlogged in my state?

Maybe. It depends on whether your state has conducted an audit of its kits. If it hasn’t, we can help you make that happen.

 

How do you define “backlog?”

Great question. Check out our webinar where we break down terms like “backlog” and give an overview of state federal efforts underway.

 

 

I’m not a policymaker, but I want to get involved and support this work. Where do I start?

We’re glad to have your support. Email RKAP or call 571.494.1731 and we’ll do our best find a match for your talents and interests and/or keep you informed of future opportunities.

 

What is the federal government doing about all of this?

Quite a bit. Learn more by visiting the sites of RAINN, Natasha’s Justice Project, Joyful Heart Foundation, and National Center for Victims of Crime.

 

 

Sounds great, but will this legislation have a cost?

That depends. Let’s talk.

Advocacy Partners

Survivors

Amy Roberts, Ohio
Carol Bart, Texas
Michelle Bowdler, Massachusetts
Julie Weil, Florida
Susan Cash, Georgia
Yvonne Pointer, Ohio
Jayann Sepich, New Mexico
Joanie Scheske, Missouri
Debbie Smith, Virginia

Contact Us

Rape Kit Action Project
E: everykitcounts@gmail.com
P: 571-494-1731
T: @everykitcounts