(WMC-TV) - A national organization founded by "Law & Order: SVU" actress Mariska Hargitay will help Memphis with the backlog of more than 12,000 rape kits.
The Joyful Heart Foundation assists cities in formulating manuals to systematically process untested rape kits.
"Joyful Heart's mission is to heal, educate, and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse," said Hargitay.
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton issued an executive order instructing the police department to develop a plan to end the rape kit backlog on October 21.
JHF, which has a series of experts on staff, will arrive in Memphis February 12 to review and tweak the city's plan.
Rape survivor Meaghan Ybos is thankful Hargitay's foundation is coming to Memphis. She will work with JHF and the city to help process the rape kits.
"What they specialize in is exactly the problem we have here," she said. "Apparently, from seeing [one Law & Order] episode, hundreds of people began writing in to Mariska Hargitay personally disclosing their own survivor stories for the first time."
Hargitay's website features the problem in Memphis and commends Wharton for issuing the executive order.
The foundation recently raised money to end Detroit's backlog.
"We found through talking with the Joyful Heart Foundation that even though Detroit had no money to deal with this problem, the community came together in a collective way," said Ybos.
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