End the Backlog of Untested Rape Kits in the U.S.

$5,874 $44,126
Raised Remaining


Founded by Mariska Hargitay in 2004, Joyful Heart’s mission is to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, and to shed light on the darkness that surrounds these issues.

What is the issue, problem, or challenge?

Every two minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States. After a sexual assault, a victim’s body is a living, breathing crime scene. Her body is examined with an ultraviolet light, photographed and swabbed for the rapist’s DNA. The invasive and often traumatic exam usually takes 4-6 hours and produces what is known as a rape kit. Today, experts estimate that there are hundreds of thousands of untested kits sitting in crime lab and police storage facilities in the U.S.

How will this project solve this problem?

In 2010, Joyful Heart launched our End the Backlog campaign to improve sexual violence response by ending the backlog of these untested kits. To do this we will: expand endthebacklog.org, the only site dedicated to raising public awareness about this issue; partner with Detroit to help end their backlog of 10,000+ rape kits; and create victim-centered best practices that can be implemented nationwide.

Potential Long Term Impact

We have seen that when jurisdictions end their backlogs, arrest rates double and more perpetrators are convicted. Survivors experience healing and justice, perpetrators are held accountable, and sexual violence is prevented.

Funding Information

Total Funding Received to Date: $5,874

Funding Information

This project is now in implementation and no longer available for funding. Received funds will be used to accomplish concrete objectives as indicated in the project's "Activities" section. Updates will be posted under the "Project Report" tab as they become available.

Donors' contributions and pledges to this project totaled $5,874 .  The original project funding goal was $50,000.


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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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Project Leader

Joanna Colangelo

New York, NY United States

Where is this project located?

Map of End the Backlog of Untested Rape Kits in the U.S.
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