Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) GranteeCity of Duluth Police Department (Minnesota)

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SAKI awarded the Duluth Police Department and its partners a grant of over $1 million, which the department will use to fund a sex crimes investigator, an advocate and SAKI site coordinator, clerical support, and attorney time for the St. Louis County Attorney's Office.

In 2016, SAKI awarded the City of Duluth Police Department additional funding to improve the quality of responses to future reports of sexual assaults. Emphasis will be placed on strengthening the Sexual Assault Nurse Examination (SANE) program, funding a SANE coordinator position, training a full time evidence technician to specialize in SAK maintenance, updating anonymous reporting protocol to increase conversion of anonymous kits to standard reports, and improving the rate that previously unsubmitted SAKS and related evidence are submitted for testing.

Funded in 2015, the City of Duluth's Police Department has used SAKI funding to:

  • Test more than 100 previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits. Testing these previously unsubmitted SAKs has resulted in: 31 CODIS uploads and 14 hits,10 referrals to prosecution, and 7 suspects charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct-related crimes. In addition, 3 CODIS hits identified previously unknown suspects, who are all currently incarcerated for other criminal offenses.
  • Implement the Betty Skye information line and email, launched in April 2016, which allows survivors to contact confidential community-based advocates to learn the status of their case and access the full range of advocacy services.

Duluth received an additional $626,835 in SAKI funding in 2017. The additional funding will be used to decrease the time needed to test previously unsubmitted SAKs and increase investigations and prosecutions of non-local suspects for cases that have a previously unsubmitted SAK.

In Duluth, PAVSA is helping survivors of sexual assault reconnect with law enforcement in Duluth to determine the status and possible new details about their case. Call the confidential Betty Skye Line to connect with a PAVSA advocate: 218-730-5449 or bettyskyeline@pavsa.org. This line is in memory of Betty Skye, a well-loved survivor and a woman who made a difference in our community.

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To learn more about their progress, read below for other news and events out of City of Duluth Police Department (Minnesota).

News and Events

Duluth Hosts National Sexual Assault Reform Conference
Alejandra Palacios, ABC Eyewitness News, Sep 11, 2018
The Duluth SAKI Site, in partnership with SAKI TTA, hosted the 2018 SAKI Assembly of Cities from September 11th-13th. This three day conference brought together jurisdictions from across the country to discuss sexual assault response reform.

Partners Clear Untested Sexual Assault Kit Backlog
Baihly Warfield, WDIO-TV, May 21, 2018
The City of Duluth submitted all their previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits to the state crime laboratory for testing. With SAKI funding they will move forward with notifying victims and investigating cases.

Duluth Taking a Second Look
Tad Vezner, Pioneer Press, Feb 17, 2017
The state of Minnesota is searching for ways address unsubmitted sexual assault kits. Read the full story to learn more about the strategies that the City of Duluth is using to overcome challenges and bring justice to victims.

Previously untested Duluth rape kits sent for analysis
Baihly Warfield, ABC Eyewitness News, Sep 2, 2016
Minnesota’s state mandated all police departments inventory their untested rape kits. This mandate, as well as SAKI funding allowed the Duluth Police Department to begin submitting all 523 of their backlogged SAKs in storage, dating as far back as 1993. To learn more, read the full article.

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