Petition Closed
Petitioning U.S. House of Representatives and 2 others

End the Rape Kit Backlog. Pass the Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault Act of 2011.

Urge the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate and President Obama to pass the Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault Act of 2011 (S.254).

What is the Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault Act?

The Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault Act of 2011 (S.254), sponsored by U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN), is a bill that would reduce the rape backlog, by addressing the problems surrounding forensic evidence collection in cases of sexual assault, including rape kit backlogs, reimbursement for or free provision of rape kits, and the availability of trained health professionals to administer rape kit examinations.

The Problem

The collection and testing of DNA evidence is a critical tool in solving rape cases. Law enforcement officials using the Combined DNA Index System have matched unknown DNA evidence taken from crime scenes with known offender DNA profiles in the State and National DNA database 2,371 times.

However, despite the availability of funding under the amendments made by the Debbie Smith Act of 2004 (title II of Public Law 108-405; 118 Stat. 2266) there exists a significant rape kit backlog in the United States.  There are currently over 180,000 untested rape kits currently in police storage.   Plus rape victims have to pay for their own rape kits.

There is a lack of sexual assault nurse examiners and health professionals who have received specialized training specific to sexual assault victims.  Also no agency regularly collects information regarding the scope of the rape kit backlog in the United States.

What will the Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault Act of 2011 (S.254) do?

The Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault Act of 2011 (S.254) will rectify this problem by;

-(1) requiring states receiving Edward Byrne Memorial justice assistance grants to certify the implementation of a policy for requiring all rape kits (DNA evidence relating to sexual assault) to be sent to crime laboratories for forensic analysis:

-(2) adjust the amount of such grants based upon compliance and noncompliance with rape kit backlog reduction requirements;

-(3) eliminate rape kit repayment requirements for sexual assault victims

-(4) provide for sexual assault forensic medical personnel examiners to collect and preserve evidence, provide expert testimony, and provide treatment of trauma relating to sexual assault.

Amends the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000 to:

-(1) authorize funding to eliminate rape kit backlogs and ensure that DNA analyses of samples from rape kits are carried out in a timely manner; and -

-(2) require states and local governments to adopt performance measures for reducing rape kit backlogs. Directs the Comptroller General to study and report to Congress on the availability of sexual assault nurse examiners and trained examiners at all Indian Health Service facilities operated under contracts.

What can you do to get the Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault Act of 2011 (S.254) passed?

Please write to and/or call your U.S. Representatives and Senators and President Obama tell them to pass to pass the Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault Act of 2011 (S.254).  Also ask your U.S. Representatives and Senators to co-sponsor the Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault Act of 2011 (S.254). 

Also please sign the petition to pass the Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault Act of 2011 (S.254). .

Letter to
U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Senate
President of the United States
I am writing to urge you to pass the Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault Act of 2011 (S.254). The Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault Act of 2011 (S.254), sponsored by U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN), would reduce the rape backlog, by addressing the problems surrounding forensic evidence collection in cases of sexual assault, including rape kit backlogs, reimbursement for or free provision of rape kits, and the availability of trained health professionals to administer rape kit examinations.

The collection and testing of DNA evidence is a critical tool in solving rape cases. Law enforcement officials using the Combined DNA Index System have matched unknown DNA evidence taken from crime scenes with known offender DNA profiles in the State and National DNA database 2,371 times.

However, despite the availability of funding under the amendments made by the Debbie Smith Act of 2004 (title II of Public Law 108-405; 118 Stat. 2266) there exists a significant rape kit backlog in the United States. There are currently over 180,000 untested rape kits currently in police storage. Plus rape victims have to pay for their own rape kits.

However, the Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault Act will rectify this problem by;

-(1) requiring states receiving Edward Byrne Memorial justice assistance grants to certify the implementation of a policy for requiring all rape kits (DNA evidence relating to sexual assault) to be sent to crime laboratories for forensic analysis:

-(2) adjust the amount of such grants based upon compliance and noncompliance with rape kit backlog reduction requirements;

-(3) eliminate rape kit repayment requirements for sexual assault victims

-(4) provide for sexual assault forensic medical personnel examiners to collect and preserve evidence, provide expert testimony, and provide treatment of trauma relating to sexual assault.

Amends the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000 to:

-(1) authorize funding to eliminate rape kit backlogs and ensure that DNA analyses of samples from rape kits are carried out in a timely manner; and -

-(2) require states and local governments to adopt performance measures for reducing rape kit backlogs. Directs the Comptroller General to study and report to Congress on the availability of sexual assault nurse examiners and trained examiners at all Indian Health Service facilities operated under contracts.

DNA is a powerful tool to protect the victims and the wrongfully accused and I hope that you will help pass this legislation.

I ask that the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate please vote yes, and co-sponsor this legislation. Also I ask that President Obama sign it into law.

Sincerely,