July 7, 2010


Sarah Tofte, researcher with the US Program at Human Rights Watch, researched and wrote the report. Brian Root, consultant with Human Rights Watch, analyzed an immense amount of data and turned it into meaningful information about how rape kits are handled in Illinois. Brian helped shape the methodology of the report and created the graphs. At Human Rights Watch, this report was reviewed by Alison Parker, director of the US Program; Meghan Rhoad, researcher with the Women’s Rights Division; Aisling Reidy, senior counsel; Joe Saunders, deputy program director; and Cassandra Cavanaugh, consultant to the Program Office. Abigail Marshak, associate with the US Program, edited, assisted with research, and contributed writing to this report. Layout and production were coordinated by Grace Choi, publications director, Fitzroy Hepkins, mail manager, and Abigail Marshak.

Also at Human Rights Watch, Stephen Steim, manager of Leadership Gifts, provided invaluable assistance while the manager of Midwest Development and Outreach in Chicago, as did Jobi Cates, director of the Chicago Committee, and Renee Mechanic, coordinator for the Chicago office. Lorena Ros took photos to accompany the report, which Anna Lopriore, manager of the creative division at Human Rights Watch, coordinated to their final presentation.

Our dedicated interns, who worked long hours out of the goodness of their hearts, are responsible for helping organize our rape kit data: Shani Adess, Nadia Ahmad, Megan Briskman, Julia Brown-Bernstein, Lendon Ebbels, Milli Hansen, Max Lockie, Rosann Mariappuram, Cate Miller, and Demyia Pridgen. We could not have written this report without their help.

External reviews of this report were conducted by the Illinois State Police, in particular Arlene Hall and Scott Giles; the Illinois Office of the Attorney General, in particular Cara Smith, Mary Anderson, and Wendy Cohen; and the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, in particular Polly Poskin and Lyn Schollet. Special thanks to Polly and Lyn for helping us navigate the sexual assault community in Illinois, and Shannon Liew, coordinator of the Crime Victim Services Division at the Illinois Attorney General, who gave us facility access to document the process of collecting a rape kit. Also thanks to the Illinois State Police for giving us access to their Springfield and Chicago facilities.

Two incredible teams of pro bono attorneys and their staff in Chicago helped us obtain rape kit data from certain jurisdictions. From DLA Piper: Gina Gamal, Annie Geraghty Helms, Adam Long, and Kimberlie Pearlman; and from McDermott Will & Emery: Zoya Arora, Sharla Bailey, Colleen E. Baime, John G. Bisbikis, Karen Boos, Peg Duncan, Sarah J. Goodnight, Matthew J. Gryzlo, Kimberly Meinert, Michael A. Pope, Nancy Wilson-Lister, Katherine M. Schon, Kerrin B. Slattery, Matthew S. Smith, and Keith M. Stolte all provided invaluable assistance towards the collection of rape kit data. For their leadership and coordination, we are especially grateful to Annie and Peg. 

Finally, and most importantly, we are thankful for the countless survivors of sexual assault who shared their stories with us.