CONGRESSMAN BOYLE LEADS BIPARTISAN EFFORT TO INCREASE FUNDING TO REDUCE RAPE KIT BACKLOG
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Brendan F. Boyle (PA-02) and Rep. Jennifer González-Colón (R-PR) led 47 Members of Congress in calling upon the House Appropriations Committee to increase funding to $49 million for the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, a Department of Justice program that aims to reduce the nation’s backlog of untested rape kits. Boyle has been a staunch advocate for addressing the issue since his days as a Pennsylvania state legislator, when he was the first legislator to introduce legislation that ultimately reduced the rape kit backlog in Pennsylvania by over 90 percent within three years. Boyle released the following statement upon the submission of his letter.
"I believe Congress must provide law enforcement greater funding to address the backlog of nearly half a million rape kits that currently sit untested in police storage units across the country," said Congressman Boyle. "Many of these backlogs occur simply because the departments don’t have the resources to test them. This is nothing short of a tragedy. We must reduce this avoidable backlog, prevent it from happening again, and bring justice to victims. I’ll keep fighting to ensure the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative is well-funded so survivors across the United States can get the justice they deserve.”
The goal of the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative is to create a coordinated community response that ensures just resolution to rape and sexual assault cases whenever possible through a victim-centered approach. Increased funding can build the capacities of jurisdictions to alleviate current backlogs and prevent conditions that lead to high backlogs in the future. Boyle has been committed to addressing this issue since his tenure as a Pennsylvania state representative where he led the effort to require timely testing of rape kits and reporting of backlogged kits to the state. Boyle’s letter calls for a total funding level of $49 million, $1 million above the enacted amount in Fiscal Year 2021.