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08 Nov

Sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse are inextricably linked.

While Joyful Heart’s top policy priority is ending the backlog of untested rape kits, we frame this work to achieve our broader mission: ending this violence forever.

We urge you to learn more about the backlog, where it exists, and why it matters.

We invite you to take action and support efforts to test rape kits.

Studies of perpetrators identified through testing backlogged kits show that serial offenders commit many types of violent crimes, including crimes against intimate partners and acquaintances.

James Drane of Detroit is one of the many perpetrators linked to both domestic violence and sexual assault.

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She works on improving system responses to sexual assault in such areas as college/university, incarcerated populations, and workplace.END THE BACKLOG is an initiative of the Joyful Heart Foundation to shine a light on the backlog of untested rape kits throughout the United States.Our goal is to end this injustice by conducting groundbreaking research identifying the extent of the nation’s backlog and best practices for eliminating it, expanding the national dialogue on rape kit testing through increased public awareness, engaging communities and government agencies and officials, and advocating for comprehensive rape kit reform legislation and policies at the local, state, and federal levels.Across cities and counties, there are vast differences in the way law enforcement officials track and report rape kit data, if at all, making it exceedingly difficult to compare data and to have a national picture of the backlog. Our guest authors, Doreen Jokerst and Maria Pettolina, hail from Parker, Colorado.Doreen is the Support Services Commander for the Parker Police Department.Help us send the message that we must take rape seriously.Cheif Executive Officer Sandra Henriquez has more than two decades of experience working in social services, of which 16 years were in non-profit management.Though experts estimate that there are hundreds of thousands of untested kits in police and crime lab storage facilities throughout the country, there is no comprehensive, national data on the nature and scope of the rape kit backlog.Few state governments and no federal agencies track this data.She provides technical assistance and training to rape crisis centers and collaboration partners on issues of trauma-informed strategies, collaborative models, and advocacy. Austin graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a BA in Women’s Studies and English.She received her law degree from the University of Southern California; Gould School of Law.