Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $1,168,662)
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 Executive Office of the Governor of Delaware will use this 2015 SAKI award to address the approximate 796 unsubmitted sexual assault kits which are in the custody of police and medical facilities in the State of Delaware. This project will allow the recipient to hire a Site Coordinator to serve as the central point of contact between the various agencies that have agreed to be a part of the Multidisciplinary Group (MDG) of agencies vested in eliminating the unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits (SAKs) in Delaware. An inventory of all unsubmitted SAKs will be performed before viable samples are submitted to a private lab for testing, and to the Delaware Department of Forensic Services for analysis. Post-analysis, law enforcement and prosecution will work together with victims to process cases in a timely manner. The MDG will collaborate to create recommendations on best practices for handling SAKs in Delaware to identify what contributed to the volume of unsubmitted sexual assault kits and prevent a backlog in the future and develop and implement new policies and procedures to improve the issues and challenges related to the volume of unsubmitted sexual assault kits. BJA SAKI funds will be used to fund the Site Coordinator position, overtime for officers to inventory and deliver SAKs to the lab for testing, forensic DNA testing and analysis of SAKs, training and travel costs, equipment, and supplies necessary for the completion of the project.