U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Understanding DNA Testing and Reporting: Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2018
3 pages
This training and technical assistance resource for grantees of the federal Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) - which involves implementation of a model to reduce backlogs of untested sexual assault kits (SAKs) in local and state jurisdictions - provides information on DNA testing and reporting, with attention to implications for unsubmmitted SAKs in a backlog.
Technological advances in DNA testing and leveraging the use of database searches in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) have partly driven the testing of cold-case evidence and unsubmmitted sexual assault kits (SAKs). Through the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance SAKI, funding, training, and technical support are available to guide the testing of all unsubmitted SAKs for DNA. This paper outlines the challenges related to obtaining DNA profiles of possible offenders from SAKs that have gone untested for DNA over time. Attention is given to the potential for expanded DNA testing for these SAKs, including Y-chromosome testing that looks at STR regions on the male Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA found within the cell outside the nucleus. The laboratory process for obtaining DNA is also explained, followed by a discussion of the contents of DNA reports and conclusions.

Date Published: February 1, 2018