Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $2,000,000)
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 Wisconsin Department of Justice will use this 2015 SAKI award to build upon the work of the Wisconsin Attorney Generals Sexual Assault Response Team (AG SART), which is a multidisciplinary group established in 2012 with the purpose of improving access to, management of and payment for sexual assault forensic exams. The Wisconsin DOJ will build upon the work of the AG SART by developing a comprehensive, statewide initiative to address the states backlog of unsubmitted SAKs and to enhance the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault cases, while achieving the long-term goal of improving the criminal justice response to cases of sexual assault. SAKI funds will be used to coordinate the submission of unsubmitted kits to the Wisconsin State Crime Lab; conduct an official inventory; hire a Sexual Assault Prosecutor for the prosecution of sexual assault cases, research analysts, a victim services specialist, and special agents; fund a media campaign targeted at sexual assault victims; pay for training and travel expenses; pay for office space and supplies; and other costs necessary for project implementation.