In October 2017, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) won a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to assist law enforcement with testing and investigating untested sexual assault kits. An informal survey conducted by Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs revealed more than 6,000 untested sexual assault kits in Washington.
The grant, part of the Bureau of Justice Assistance Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, will fund a team within the Attorney General’s Office dedicated to processing the sexual assault kits. Once the kits are tested, the AGO will support law enforcement as they use the newfound information to reopen cold cases. The AGO will offer investigative assistance to law enforcement agencies, but will not take over their cases.
Testing these kits will not only identify serial rapists, but they can also link cases across the country even if the offender is unknown, provide critical links that could solve homicide cases, and provide answers to victims and their families. Throughout the project, the AGO will provide victim-centered trauma training to law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and victim advocates.
INVENTORY STATUS (last updated 10/3/2018)
The Attorney General’s Office has received inventory information from 208 law enforcement agencies as of October 3, 2018. This is a 100 percent completion rate. The total of untested kits that have been reported is 6,460. More details will be released as the AGO SAKI team reviews the inventory data.
The Attorney General’s Office will request the remainder of the SAKI grant. The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) is currently reviewing the inventory data and working with the Crime Lab to develop a plan for testing the kits, which potentially provide DNA evidence for sexual assault investigations.
So far, the AGO has received 25 percent of the $3 million grant in order to inventory the kits. Now that the inventory of unsubmitted kits is complete, Attorney General Ferguson can request the remainder of the funds from Bureau of Justice Assistance.
PROGRESS TO DATE
April 2017: The AGO applied for the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) grant
October 2017: Grant awarded to AGO
April 2018: The Department of Justice released 25% of the total $3 million in grant funds to the AGO (remaining 75% will be released upon completion of inventory)
April 2018: The AGO hired two SAKI Investigators, Lindsey Wade and Marty Hill
June 2018: SAKI Multidisciplinary Team created. This team, which will advise the Attorney General’s Office during the project, includes representatives from:
- Law Enforcement
- Crime Lab
- Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners
- Victim Advocacy
June 2018: SAKI inventory instructions sent out to law enforcement agencies in Washington, excluding federal and tribal agencies
August 1, 2018: Target date for law enforcement agencies to complete inventory
August 9, 2018: Follow-up letter sent to law enforcement agencies requesting an estimate of when their inventory will be completed. This letter was only sent to law enforcement agencies who have not already provided an inventory list or given a timeline for completion.
October 2018: Inventory of unsubmitted sexual assault kits complete