Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $1,515,619)
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 Jefferson County District Attorneys Office is awarded an FY 2016 SAKI award under Purpose Area 1 to improve the sexual assault response of 27 law enforcement agencies supported by this application. The District Attorneys Office will lead a comprehensive effort to inventory, track and test sexual assault kits that were previously unsubmitted to the lab for forensic analysis. Additionally, the initiative will produce new protocols and policies to support improved coordination and collaboration among law enforcement, the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, the DAs Office, the Crisis Center and many other victim services providers in Jefferson County. Funds provided through this award will be used to hire a Site Coordinator to oversee the SAKI project, a Sexual Assault Prosecutor to oversee prosecutions of sexual assaults, a civil lawyer to provide additional advocacy to victims, additional SAKI staff to conduct the required inventory and other SAKI tasks, a SAKI Multidisciplinary Working Group Support Staff who will be responsible for supporting and organizing the group. Funds will also be used to support the development of a sexual assault computer database which will used for evidence tracking, case management, and victim notification in order to enhance accountability, transparency, and information sharing.