Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $1,983,533)
The National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) provides funding to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies, and prosecutors offices to support multidisciplinary community response teams engaged in the comprehensive reform of jurisdictions approaches to sexual assault cases resulting from evidence found in previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits (SAKs) - i.e. those SAKs that have never been submitted to a crime laboratory.
The goal of the SAKI is the creation of a coordinated community response that ensures just resolution to these cases whenever possible through a victim-centered approach, as well as to build jurisdictions capacity to prevent the development of conditions that lead to high numbers of unsubmitted SAKs in the future. The holistic program provides jurisdictions with resources to address their unsubmitted SAK issue, including support to inventory, test, and track SAKs; create and report performance metrics; access necessary training to increase effectiveness in addressing the complex issues associated with these cases and engage in multidisciplinary policy development, implementation, and coordination; and improve practices related to investigation, prosecution, and victim engagement and support in connection with evidence and cases resulting from the testing process.
The Nevada Office of the Attorney General (NOAG) will use this 2015 SAKI award to address the approximately 6,300 SAKs that have never been subjected to forensic testing in the southern half of Nevada. The NOAG has established a regularly convened SAK Working Group within the state to develop strategies and best practices for executing this expansive project to include victim notification, statewide training, and resources for victims, the testing of all SAKs collected in connection with a crime, entering all eligible DNA profiles into CODIS, prosecution, data collection for academic research, and the identification of statewide resources to sustain their efforts. BJA SAKI funds will be used to outsource untested SAKs to a private DNA lab and associated costs; fund overtime for investigators to engage in victim notification, investigate CODIS hits, engage in prosecutions, and track the progress of kits; conduct research in the development of victim-centered approaches and policies for SAK testing; hire victim advocates to provide support to victims and a site coordinator to oversee the SAKI program; and to fund travel expenses.