In November 2012, Natasha’s Justice Project (NJP) publicly released a Request for Proposal (RFP) for its Backlog Elimination Project. The Backlog Elimination Project is a pilot project which ultimately aims to eliminate untested Sexual Offense Evidence Collection (SOEC) kits, also known as rape kits, within a chosen jurisdiction.
According to the National Institute of Justice, there is an estimated 400,000 untested kits across the United States. Through the pilot project, NJP hopes to reduce this number while significantly impacting the methodology of rape kit processing. Eliminating a jurisdiction’s backlog means that NJP has the opportunity to create a go-to source for other municipalities who would like to eliminate their backlog. Not only will the Backlog Elimination Project develop standard practices and procedures, it will also aid law enforcement officials with ongoing investigations while leading to the prosecution of previously unsolved sexual crimes within and beyond the selected jurisdiction(s).
Originally, all jurisdictions or municipalities interested in applying for the RFP were asked to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) no later than December 1, 2012, with all completed RFP applications submitted no later than December 31, 2012. However, due to overwhelming interest, the Pilot Project Committee voted to extend both deadlines in order to fairly select the jurisdiction which will best fit the project’s undertaking. The new deadline for all LOI’s is January 31, 2013 with completed RFP applications submitted no later than February 28, 2013.
Once all applications are received by the Pilot Project Committee, a complete and thorough review will take place, in order to select a jurisdiction which best fulfills the grant requirements. The Pilot Project Committee consists of professionals experienced in the fields of law enforcement, research, victim advocacy, journalism, legal and related charitable organizations, as well as public and private DNA laboratory experts. NJP recruited qualified personnel to sit on the Committee in order to effectively create and carry out the methodology necessary to clear a backlog.
NJP is looking forward to collaborating with a jurisdiction which is ready to tackle this problem and bring justice to anyone and everyone who has been affected by sexual assault. The Backlog Elimination Project is NJP’s first (but certainly not last!) step towards exposing and eliminating the nationwide rape kit backlog.
Photo courtesy of vaxZine via flickr.com