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Tackling the Issue of Untested Sexual Assault Kits in Iowa

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

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 prosecutor’s 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 Iowa Department of Justice will use this 2015 SAKI award to address the issue of untested SAKs within the state. The goals of the project are to: conduct an inventory of the number of unsubmitted SAKs in possession of Iowa law enforcement agencies; determine the reasons why unsubmitted SAKs were not submitted for testing; develop a comprehensive testing strategy based upon the inventory; identify and implement opportunities for training and increased understanding of all stakeholders pertaining to submission and storage of SAKs; develop a coordinated victim-centered approach to guide the notification process; and implement best practices with regard to sexual assault cases in the future. SAKI funds will be used to fund a Crime Victim Compensation Specialist, a Crime Victim Compensation Administrator, training and travel expenses, testing of unsubmitted SAKs, overtime/personnel costs associated with investigations and prosecutions emerging from testing of SAKs, and other costs necessary for project implementation.


Date Created: September 10, 2015