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

by Joyful Heart Foundation


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.

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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.


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.

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.


Joyful Heart Foundation's website
End the Backlog cause site

Organization Information

Joyful Heart Foundation

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.joyfulheartfoundation.org
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @thejhf
Joyful Heart Foundation
Joanna Colangelo
Project Leader:
Joanna Colangelo
New York, NY United States

Funded Project!

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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