Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $2,500,000)
The City of Flint Police Department, in partnership with the Genesee County Prosecutor’s Office and the YWCA of Greater Flint, requests continued support to implement a comprehensive approach to unsubmitted sexual assault kits (SAKs) in the City of Flint with a multidisciplinary team and to optimize victim-centered services that promote justice and healing. This funding is essential to ensure that SAKs and criminal sexual conduct cases resulting from SAKs receive expert attention, prioritization, expediency and site coordination.
The City of Flint has experienced significant financial hardship over the past two decades, which led to backlogs of SAKs and an exorbitant number of sexual assault cases. This places enormous pressure on downsized criminal justice services to address the issue quickly while simultaneously investigating and prosecuting new cases. Additional funding and staffing has become essential to address SAKs and to ensure justice for victims of sexual assault cases.
The City of Flint has tested 770 SAKs with the funding of BJA and DOJ to help identify potential suspects. SAKs that have suspects identified will require subsequent follow-up investigation, prosecution, and holistic support for victims of criminal sexual conduct (CSC). And some SAKs will be identified and benefit from Forensic Genetic Genealogy testing and help lead to suspect identification and location. The City of Flint Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) is committed to ensuring justice for these cases. There is a great need for funded time and support to continue investigations as initial SAK testing is being completed, monitored, and to ensure that victims of sexual assault are well-supported during the process.
Under the proposed project, the City of Flint SAKI unit with the help of the Multidisciplinary Team, will modify and expand the comprehensive tracking of all SAKs including expanding to cold cases from 2015-2022. An estimated 20 cases will be closed in three years, while devoting important care and support to victims of Criminal Sexual Conduct in the City of Flint and Genesee County. As the lead agency, the City of Flint Police Department SAKI Unit will be responsible for investigations and the overall technical, programmatic, and financial oversight of the grant. The Genesee County Assistant Prosecutor for the SAKI Unit will handle cold case criminal sexual conduct prosecutions and the Victim Advocate with the YWCA, will work with sexual assault victims.