Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $2,499,796)
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 FY 2017 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. In FY 2017, National SAKI Program funding is available under three Purpose Areas: Purpose Area 1: Comprehensive Approach to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits; Purpose Area 2: SAKI for Small Agencies; and Purpose Area 3: Collection of Lawfully Owed DNA from Convicted Offenders to Assist with Sexual Assault Investigations and Prosecutions.
The City of Albuquerque will utilize SAKI funding to 1) Thoroughly examine the individual, organizational, and systemic factors that led to the approximate 3,900 unsubmitted Sexual Assault Evidence Kits (SAEKS) in their jurisdiction and to fully document, describe, and offer informed solutions to the problem at APD; 2) Support and provide leadership for the Albuquerque-specific SAEK MDT called ASERT to work effectively with community partners to identify the contributing factors that resulted in a lack of case resolution and identify concrete methods and resources needed to improve victim support, investigative outcomes and case resolution; 3) Recruit and hire a Site Coordinator as a central point of contact who will implement grant activities, create a victim-centered, trauma-informed focus to the work, and ensure project benchmarks are met and project deliverables are disseminated throughout Albuquerque and become an integrated part of statewide efforts; and 4) Provide funding to enhance prosecutorial resources in the 2nd Judicial District Attorneys Office to specifically address cases arising from the testing of the unsubmitted SAEKs.