Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $1,962,414)
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 Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 National SAKI Program will provide funds to recipients to implement or enhance the comprehensive BJA model to address the issues that underline the problem of unsubmitted SAKs or to expand their existing SAKI project to include the collection of lawfully owed DNA samples from convicted offenders.
The Nevada Attorney Generals Office is being funded a FY 2016 SAKI award under Purpose Area 1 to enhance their existing SAKI program. The recipient received a FY 2015 BJA SAKI award to inventory and test backlogged SAKs and fund supportive victim services and investigative functions for SAKs within the geographical and jurisdictional areas covered by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) Crime Lab in southern Nevada. Nevada will use the FY 2016 SAKI award to expand their SAKI program to effectively resolve the statewide issue of untested sexual assault kits; increase investigation and prosecution resources throughout the state to resolve CODIS hits; provide a statewide assessment of current policies and practices across the spectrum of response to sexual assault and its victims; develop support through victim-centered, trauma-informed responses to sexual assault; and provide systemic training and assistance to implement these responses into effective community partnerships, policies and practices that will ensure that backlogs of untested kits do not develop throughout the state in the future. Funds will be used to hire a Sexual Assault Resource Prosecutor and additional staff to assist the SAKI Coordinator in overseeing grant activities; provide funding to the Crisis Call Center, including hiring a victim advocate and personnel costs for counselors; attend and conduct trainings; and contract with law enforcement partners who will conduct inventories, forensic testing, investigations, tracking of SAKs, and other functions associated with reducing the backlog of unsubmitted SAKs within their jurisdictions.