What is the rape kit backlog?


The "rape kit backlog" refers to the accumulation of untested sexual assault forensic exam kits, commonly known as rape kits. When someone reports a rape, they may undergo a lengthy forensic exam (up to 14 hours) where biological evidence (DNA, hair, fluids) is meticulously collected from the body. This evidence is essential for identifying the assailant, especially if their DNA is already on record in a criminal database. The backlog arises because these kits often remain unprocessed, sometimes stored improperly, leading to potential destruction or contamination. This issue has been significant enough over the decades that hundreds of thousands of kits have been destroyed or left unchecked. Organizations like the Joyful Heart Foundation are striving to eliminate the backlog and improve the justice system for sexual assault victims 1 .

Eradicating the Rape Kit Backlog

Debbie discusses her work with the Joyful Heart Foundation in eradicating the backlog of rape kits in the country, highlighting the importance of collecting and processing DNA evidence to bring justice to victims of sexual violence.

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