This report summarizes the findings and methodology of the case analysis and feasibility study component of an initial evaluation of sites funded in fiscal year (FY) 2015 under the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance’s (BJA’s) National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI).
This initial evaluation of SAKI sites is intended to inform plans for a long-term outcome evaluation of the SAKI program. In 2015, BJA awarded just over $30 million of grant funds to 20 sites across the country to support “multidisciplinary community response teams engaged in the comprehensive reform of jurisdictions’ approach to sexual assault cases that resulted from evidence found in previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits (SAKs). The goals of the SAKI are to 1) eliminate unsubmitted SAK issues and solve violent crimes by creating a coordinated community response that ensures just resolution to cases through a victim-centered approach and 2) build jurisdictions’ capacity to prevent the development of conditions that produce high numbers of unsubmitted SAKs for laboratory testing. This current initial evaluation of the SAKI program assessed case characteristics and outcomes of previously unsubmitted SAK cases and the feasibility of collecting and using case data for an evaluation of the SAKI program. The evaluation concluded that by analyzing samples in previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits, police can be provided with new investigative leads that can result in holding offenders accountable. For victims of these crimes, this facilitates closure and healing. In addition, the SAKI program contributes to improvement in investigation and prosecution practices beyond the use of forensic testing results and encourages jurisdictions to improve interactions with victims and collaboration among crime labs, law enforcement agencies, victim advocacy organizations, and prosecutor offices. Recommendations are presented for a SAKI outcome evaluation. 11 tables, 2 figures, and appended evaluation instrument