Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,200,000)
When the Portland Police Bureau set out to eradicate its backlog of untested sexual assault kits in 2015, they encountered a series of underlying issues that contributed to the overarching problem of a broken response to sexual assault cases. Manually tracking hundreds of cases with differing variables on a spreadsheet was untenable – it was unwieldy, only one person could access the data at a time, and it lacked security protocols. Activities of key players in sexual assault cases were siloed. The notes from sexual assault victim advocates, exams from sexual assault nurses, and detective files were all housed in separate files and lab results were stored on external servers. Victims had no access as to the status of their kits. That lack of transparency led to a lack of accountability, and ultimately, the denial of justice.
To solve these problems, Portland built the Sexual Assault Management System (SAMS) with the support of SAKI funding. SAMS is a suite of software applications that tracks sexual assault kits from collection to disposition, streamlines workloads and facilitates collaboration by allowing multidisciplinary team members to work in a single platform, updates survivors regarding the status of their kits, and allows sexual assault nurse examiners to transmit their exam results directly into SAMS.
In addition to Portland, 18 agencies across the nation use SAMS with an additional five sites pending installation. To date, over 66,000 cases have been uploaded into the system. SAMS plays a crucial role in data collection, reporting, and case management for SAKI sites.
Portland is requesting funds from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to develop a plan that ensures the long-term viability of SAMS so that both current and future agencies continue to have access to this vital tool. While developing a sustainment plan, Portland will continue to maintain and upgrade sites that currently use SAMS and continue installations. Additionally, Portland will create comprehensive training videos, manuals and user guides, and further develop SAMS to address challenges associated with sexual assault cases. The goals of this program will be executed by software developers and within the City of Portland’s Bureau of Technology with assistance from the Site Coordinator.