Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $880,933)
The National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) supports the Departments criminal justice priorities of reducing violent crime and supporting law enforcement officers and prosecutors by: (1) providing jurisdictions with resources to address sexual assault kits (SAKs) in their custody that have not been submitted to a forensic laboratory for testing with Combined DNA Index System (CODIS)-eligible DNA methodologies; and (2) improving investigation and prosecution in connection with evidence and cases resulting from the testing process. In addition, SAKI will provide investigators with assistance in how to more effectively question subjects, which could provide stronger investigative leads and build stronger prosecutorial cases, which in turn could help solve more crimes.
The goal of 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 2018 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 2018, National SAKI Program funding is available under four Purpose Areas: Purpose Area 1: Comprehensive Approach to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits; Purpose Area 2: SAKI for Small Agencies; and Purpose Area 3: Expansion of DNA Databases to Assist with Sexual Assault Investigations and Prosecutions: Collection of Lawfully Owed DNA from Convicted Offenders and Arrestee DNA Collections; Purpose Area 4: Investigation and Prosecution of Cold Case Sexual Assaults. Effective FY 2018, grant recipients must also enter all criteria cases into ViCAP (before the end of the grant period) to increase the chances of identifying and apprehending violent serial offenders who pose a serious threat to public safety.