Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $1,999,109)
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 Wayne County Prosecuting Attorneys Office will use this 2015 SAKI award for their investigation and prosecution project which is aimed at providing justice to survivors who were victimized years, even decades ago. In August of 2009, 11,303 sexual assault kits dating back to 1980 was discovered in the Detroit Police Department property storage room. As of April 2015, approximately 10,000 kits have been tested with 1,133 CODIS offender associations and 480 CODIS forensic associations (hits). The Wayne County Sexual Assault Task Force (WCSAKTF) has completed a census, created a multidisciplinary team, created victim notification and case investigation protocols, started a pilot SAK tracking project, and leveraged funds for testing. BJA SAKI funds will be used to hire and train sexual assault investigators, prosecutors, and a community-based victim advocate; to purchase and develop a case management system to bolster efficiency, automate data reporting, and increase transparency; provide expanded training to ensure that all sexual assault investigations and prosecutions use a victim-centered, trauma informed, offender-focused approach; and to fund other costs necessary for project implementation.