Governor Lamont: National Organization Commends Connecticut for Achieving Full Sexual Assault Evidence Kit Reform
Joyful Heart Foundation Says Connecticut Has Satisfied All Six Pillars That Measure Comprehensive Reform
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today is applauding the news that the Joyful Heart Foundation, a national nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of sexual assault survivors, has certified Connecticut as having implemented “full reform” concerning policies and procedures on the processing of sexual assault evidence kits. As part of its End the Backlog project, the organization collects information from states throughout the country to shine a light on the nationwide backlog of untested rape kits and promote the enactment of laws and policies that eradicate the problems.
The foundation says that Connecticut meets each of the six pillars of sexual assault kit reforms that it recommends: annual statewide inventory of untested kits; mandatory testing of backlogged kits; mandatory testing of new kits; statewide tracking system; victims’ rights to notice; and funding for reform.
Last year, the state legislature codified into law specific practices in an effort to improve the processing of sexual assault evidence kits. Governor Lamont credited the work of the Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory and many advocates and organizations whose efforts helped the state implement the reforms.
“Over the last several years Connecticut has enacted significant reforms on the processing of sexual assault evidence kits that focus on delivering justice for victims and providing law enforcement with what they need to keep perpetrators off the streets,” Governor Lamont said. “The work to eliminate the backlog should be applauded. This is undoubtedly good news and shows that our state is prioritizing the enactment of policies that assist in efforts to combat sexual assault.”
“A dedicated team including the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence, Office of Victim Services, Division of Criminal Justice, and law enforcement worked with the Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory and Dr. Guy Vallaro to attain this significant achievement,” Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner James C. Rovella said.
“The Alliance, on behalf of our nine sexual assault crisis services centers and the survivors we serve, is proud of the collaborative efforts that have positioned us as a leader in sexual assault kit reform,” Beth Hamilton, Deputy Director of the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence, said. “Connecticut’s proactive approach has resulted in improved systems for evidence collection, advances in forensic analysis and trauma-informed victim notification. By removing barriers and creating victim-centered practices, we are creating pathways to justice for survivors.”