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New Mexico Sexual Assault Kit Initiative

Award Information

Award #
2016-AK-BX-K007
Location
Congressional District
Status
Closed
Funding First Awarded
2016
Total funding (to date)
$1,999,940

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $1,999,940)

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 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 New Mexico Department of Public Safety (NMDPS) is being funded a FY 2016 SAKI award under Purpose Area 1 to address the issue of unsubmitted sexual assault kits (SAKs) at select law enforcement agencies and to significantly enhance New Mexico’s holistic approach to violent sexual crime in New Mexico. The partners include the New Mexico DPS, which includes the NM State Police; the Grants Management Bureau and Forensic Laboratory Bureau; the NM Attorney General’s Office; the NM District Attorney’s Association; the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office; the Albuquerque Police Department, including the APD Crime Lab; and the New Mexico Statewide Coalition of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE). This multi-disciplinary group is referred to as the “SAEK Working Group” and was founded in 2015. Under the FY 2016 SAKI award, NMDPS will complete an inventory of all unsubmitted SAKs throughout New Mexico; continue to convene the SAEK Working Group to develop a comprehensive strategy to address the issue; appoint a site coordinator to serve as the central point of contact for the project; and fund elements of the project to include testing, tracking, training, investigating and supporting sexual assault crime investigators, prosecutors, victims, and service providers. The Department of Public Safety, as the lead agency and founder of the SAEK Working Group, is committed to combating sexual violence statewide through creative programming of federal funds to educate, increase awareness, reduce backlogs, and improve turn-around time for prosecution, which will improve public safety.

ca/ncf

Date Created: September 26, 2016