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Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) GranteeOffice of the Attorney General of Virginia

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SAKI awarded the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia a $2-million grant in FY2016, which they used to inventory, submit, and test sexual assault kits. They also used the funds to implement a new Physical Evidence Recovery Kit tracking system; cover training costs; and designate a survivor support specialist, research assistant, and project manager.

In FY2019, SAKI awarded the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia an additional $950,390 in funding to support the investigation and prosecution of cold case sexual assaults; this work is being accomplished by increasing the training, awareness, outreach, and use of trauma-informed investigation techniques. Virginia has used these funds to support multiple positions, including an investigator and a victim advocate.

In FY2020, SAKI awarded the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia an additional $2,084,762 in SAKI funding to strengthen capacity to investigate and prosecute cold case sexual assaults through conducting a statewide inventory of partially tested sexual assault kits (SAKs), outsource testing and technical review of up to 500 partially tested SAKs, and continue oversight of the Physical Evidence Recovery Kit tracking system. The funding will also be used to hire intelligence analysts within its Unsolved Violent Crimes and Cold Case Unit to assist investigations, examine unsolved sexually motivated homicide cases, seek advanced DNA testing in cases in which other efforts have been unsuccessful, and ensure eligible cases are entered into the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program database.

In FY2023, SAKI awarded the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia $1.5 million to reduce the number of unresolved violent crime cold cases in Virginia. The Office of the Attorney General of Virginia, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Forensic Science and the Virginia Department of State Police, will use funds to support investigation and prosecution of high volumes of cold case sexual assaults and sexually motivated homicides, which will help law enforcement and prosecutors around the state address challenges associated with unresolved violent cold case crimes and improve the criminal justice response to sexual assault. The project will focus on several primary activities, including accurate sexual assault kit data entry, intelligence analysis to increase the number of solved cases, advanced DNA testing to identify and apprehend serial offenders, victim-centered notification and advocacy, and trauma-informed cold case reviews and investigation trainings. These activities aim to bring more perpetrators to justice, improve the system response for victims, increase public safety, and enable closure and healing for the victims of solved cold cases and their loved ones.

For more information on the specific SAKI awards for this site, see the table below.

Office of the Attorney General of Virginia Funding

Year Amount Purpose Area
FY2016 $1,999,954 Comprehensive Approach to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits
FY2019 $950,390 Investigation and Prosecution of Cold Case Sexual Assaults
FY2020 $2,084,762 Comprehensive Approach to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits
FY2023 $1,500,000 Investigation and Prosecution of Cold Case Sexual Assaults

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News and Events

Va. Attorney General Mark Herring: first conviction announced from working through rape kit backlog
13 News Now, Aug 27, 2020
First conviction in VA from testing backlogged PERKs. Attorney General Herring stated “Testing these kits and entering the DNA into the national database help law enforcement identify suspects, link crimes committed by unknown or known suspects, make our communities safer, and hold individuals who commit these heinous crimes accountable."

Virginia eliminates backlog of 2,665 untested rape kits
Tom Jackman, The Washington Post, Jul 8, 2020
Virginia has eliminated a backlog of 2,665 untested rape kit tests . Approximately, 851 of those rape kits resulted in DNA profiles that were entered into CODIS, the national combined DNA index system, and 354 of those profiles resulted in “hits."

Man faces charge in child sex crime after DNA match found in PERK kit backlog project
NBC 12 Newsroom, Nov 13, 2019
A 26-year-old Spotsylvania County man became the first person charged in the attorney general’s rape kit backlog project. * also has project stats at end of article.

Charlotte Gomer, Commonwealth of Virginia Office of the Attorney General, Mar 27, 2019
Virginia has completed testing on their pre-2014 previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits thanks to their DANY funding.

State developing computer program to allow victims to track sexual assault test results
Frank Green, Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 20, 2018
With support from the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, the Virginia Department of Forensic Science is working on a new software that will give victims the ability to track their sexual assault kit.

Testing of backlogged rape kits leads to 22 DNA hits
Kerri O’Brien, WRIC ABC 8 News, Apr 13, 2018
Richmond Police Department has sent 195 rape kits for testing and has so far received 22 hits in CODIS, the national DNA database.

Virginia deserves applause for its work to eliminate a rape kit backlog
The Washington Post Editorial Board, Jun 19, 2017
Virginia deserved applause for its work to eliminate its estimated 3,200 kits across the state that remained untested. Virginia has already tested about 1,000 of those kits with funds from the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s $38 million initiative. Additional funding, provided by SAKI will allow the remainder of kits from 2014 to 2016 to be inventoried, tested, investigated, and prosecution.

Attorney General wants to eliminate backlog of untested rape kits
Web Staff, WDBJ7, Jun 8, 2017
Attorney General Mark Herring announced that he is taking continued steps forward in order to eliminated the backlog of unsubmitted rape kits in Virginia. He has added 1,200 additional kits collected between 2014 and 2016 to be tested. To learn more about the SAKI project in VA, read the full article.

Attorney General Mark Herring announces $2 million grant to test remaining rape kits across Virginia
WRIC Newsroom, Jan 11, 2017
Virginia was awarded additional funding to complement its existing award from the District Attorney of New York. The funds will be used to test any remaining backlogged rape kits, develop a new tracking system, develop specialized training for law enforcement relating to trauma-informed victim interaction, and preventing gender bias. To learn more about the work being done in Virginia, read the full article.

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Our Mission

Funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative aims to create a coordinated community response that ensures just resolution to sexual assault cases. Through this program, funding is provided to support multidisciplinary community response teams engaged in the comprehensive reform of jurisdictions approaches to sexual assault cases resulting from evidence found in previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits.

This Web site is funded in whole or in part through a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Neither the U.S. Department of Justice nor any of its components operate, control, are responsible for, or necessarily endorse, this Web site (including, without limitation, its content, technical infrastructure, and policies, and any services or tools provided).

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