Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,500,000)
The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) received BJA SAKI grants in FY15-19, which have allowed for significant strides towards addressing the accumulation of unsubmitted sexual assault kits in the state, while at the same time addressing systematic change in our criminal justice system response to sexual assault victims. This includes conducting a statewide inventory of previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits, testing almost 4,500 sexual assault kits, re-opening investigations, prosecuting serial sex offenders, and launching a sexual assault kit tracking system. In addition, sexual assault reform legislation was signed into law in December of 2021.
The FY22 request expands and builds upon the Wisconsin DOJ’s comprehensive, statewide efforts to address previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits, to prevent any future accumulation of sexual assault kits, and to ensure that every sexual assault case is thoroughly investigated and, if possible, prosecuted to hold perpetrators accountable for their crimes.
Through this proposal, the Wisconsin DOJ seeks federal funds for a 36-month project to build upon its SAKI efforts to date. Specifically, through this proposal, the Wisconsin DOJ is seeking to ensure adequate resources to assist local law enforcement and district attorneys throughout The State of Wisconsin in investigating and prosecuting cold case sexual assaults and sexually motivated homicides. This includes funding for: a Special Agent to assist local law enforcement in identifying and investigating unsolved sexual assaults and sexually motivated homicides; a Crime Analyst to provide access to research, identification of crime trends and patterns, and linkage of unsolved cases; an Assistant Attorney General to provide investigative consultation and prosecution of cases; and a SAKI Site Coordinator to engage community-based sexual assault advocates in providing trauma-informed survivor notification and re-engagement services.
Grant funds will also be utilized to conduct phenotyping/ancestral analysis on unsolved sexual assaults and sexually motivated homicides, tools that are often unavailable to local law enforcement due to the expense. This will be done utilizing private vendor laboratories in a targeted fashion to attempt to identify unknown violent offenders and generate investigative leads.
Finally, FY22 funding will further support the Wisconsin DOJ's ongoing efforts to populate the FBI's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) and Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP) to potentially generate hundreds of investigative leads.
This statewide and multidisciplinary effort will be implemented by staff from the Wisconsin DOJ’s Office of Crime Victim Services, Division of Criminal Investigation, Division of Forensic Sciences, and Division of Legal Services.