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National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI)

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About the Program

The goal of the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) is the creation of a coordinated community response that ensures just resolution of these cases, whenever possible, through a victim-centered approach, and to build jurisdictions’ capacities to prevent the development of conditions that lead to high numbers of unsubmitted sexual assault kits (SAKs)/cold case evidence. Targeted training and technical assistance is critical to the long-term success of comprehensive, jurisdictionally specific reform.

Grant funding may be used to inventory the existing numbers of unsubmitted SAKs, test these kits, and assign designated personnel to pursue new investigative leads and prosecutions and to support victims throughout the investigation and prosecution process.

Grants may also be used to develop evidence-tracking systems, train law enforcement on trauma-informed investigations, conduct research, and increase collection of DNA for Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) upload purposes (in full adherence to the laws in the jurisdiction), that may lead to the identification of people who have committed numerous sexual offenses.

The essential elements of a comprehensive model to address the issues that underlie the problem of unsubmitted SAKs are:

  • The performance of an inventory of all unsubmitted SAKs in the jurisdiction's possession (excluding SAKs already submitted to the crime lab) regardless of where they are stored (police evidence facility, hospital, and other relevant locations) and the tracking of their progress from testing through final adjudication.
  • The creation of a regularly convened multidisciplinary working group for each site to address and identify the individual-level, organizational-level, and systemic factors that lead to high numbers of unsubmitted SAKs in the jurisdiction and development of a comprehensive strategy to address the issue. This working group should be comprised of law enforcement (including superior officers and officers that respond to and investigate sexual assault complaints), forensic medical personnel (including sexual assault forensic examiners), forensic laboratory personnel, prosecutors, victim advocates (both system and community-based), and victim treatment providers. (Some jurisdictions may already have Sexual Assault Response Teams [SART] in place that could form the basis of the working group).
  • A designated "site coordinator" who will serve as the central point of contact for the site team. This individual will be responsible for fostering and coordinating communication among the team members and ensuring that the team is meeting its milestones. The site coordinator must also demonstrate a willingness and commitment to institutionalize systems, policies, and protocols developed by the working group to address the backlog of unsubmitted sexual assault kits and prevent the problem from reoccurring.

Program Statistics

Date Modified: December 1, 2022
Date Created: October 18, 2022