Actress Mariska Hargitay is set to produce a documentary about the backlog of sexual assault evidence collection kits in the U.S.

The Law & Order: Svu star's latest project, which will begin filming in Detroit, Michigan, this week (begs10Mar14), focuses on the police, prosecutors and community advocates who are working to deal with the 11,000 untested rape kits in the city.

Hargitay's Joyful Heart Foundation, which works to help survivors of sexual assault, will serve as a beneficiary of the documentary and organisers will work as counsellors for the film.

She tells The Hollywood Reporter, "I was shocked when I learned about the rape kit backlog, and the lost opportunities for justice - and healing - it represents.

"I also find the backlog to be the starkest example of how we regard the issue of sexual violence in the country... That attitude - and the violence - has to end, and I hope this film will open people's eyes to the value of investing in change."