Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $2,443,081)
The Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Task Force was created in 2015 and was designed to ensure the collaboration between multiple service providers with the goal of establishing an effective system to inventory, test, investigate and prosecute cases arising out of over 4000 untested sexual assault kits and homicide related sexual assault kits collected by the Dallas Police Department. The Dallas County District Attorney's office is the lead agency for this task force and is partnering with the already existing Dallas County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) which has been meeting regularly since 2009 to discuss ways to improve sexual assault response in Dallas County. This task force includes members from the Dallas Police Department, Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center, The SANE Initiative and Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences.
This funding will provide the means to employ additional personnel of two investigators, two prosecutors, a victim advocate, and a site coordinator which are necessary to assist sexual assault survivors throughout the notification and criminal justice process, track the testing of these kits and their resulting DNA hits, as well as properly investigate and prosecute cases that may arise out of this testing. This project will also ensure that policies and protocols are created and followed to ensure that all sexual assault kits in the future are properly accounted for and tested in accordance with statewide statutes and to improve the Dallas Police Department's and the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office response to sexual assault through a victim centered approach. Victim safety and offender accountability are important goals for this project. This project is expected to be completed by the end of year 2024.