Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $493,227)
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; (2) improving investigation and prosecution in connection with evidence and cases resulting from the testing process; and (3) providing sites with resources to collect DNA samples from qualifying individuals who should have a sample in CODIS (based on the type and time of the offense in relation to applicable state law), but from whom a sample has never been collected or submitted to a laboratory for testing. 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 FY 2019 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 2019, National SAKI Program funding is available under four Purpose Areas.
Recipients under Purpose Area 2: SAKI for Small Agencies are expected to achieve the overall goals of SAKI but do not require extensive funding to support the three elements of the BJA model. Grant recipients under Purpose Area 2 must demonstrate efforts to form or maintain a multidisciplinary approach to address SAK-related issues in their jurisdiction; establish partnerships where possible; ensure that the SAKI activities are effectively coordinated; and utilize SAKI funding to help provide a sustainable solution to problems associated with unsubmitted SAKs in the jurisdiction. SAKI provides jurisdictions with resources to address their unsubmitted SAKs, 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 testing. 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.