The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Training and Technical Assistance (SAKI TTA) Team look forward to welcoming you to the 8th Annual National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Grantees Meeting in Washington, D.C., on December 11-13, 2023. We are excited to host this annual convening for a program that enacts improved policy and practice to resolve sexual assault and violent crime cases by
- providing direct assistance to jurisdictions that contend with the impact of unsubmitted sexual assault kits;
- addressing questions related to effective testing strategies, including advanced DNA testing; and
- supporting the development of sustainable practices and policies for the investigation and prosecution of cold case investigations.
BJA began funding SAKI sites in 2015, selecting 20 state and local jurisdictions as the initial sites. Since then, BJA has funded a combination of existing sites and new jurisdictions each year:
- 2016: 13 existing SAKI sites and 12 new jurisdictions
- 2017: 12 existing SAKI sites and 9 new jurisdictions
- 2018: 16 existing SAKI sites and 13 new jurisdictions
- 2019: 19 existing SAKI sites and 10 new jurisdictions
- 2020: 28 existing SAKI sites and 7 new jurisdictions
- 2021: 19 existing SAKI sites and 5 new jurisdictions
- 2022: 14 existing SAKI sites and 4 new jurisdictions
- 2023: 18 existing SAKI sites and 7 new jurisdictions
BJA and the SAKI TTA Team are committed to partnering with communities to develop a coordinated community response to cold case violent crimes, including sexual assaults and sexually motivated homicides. Our goal is to offer the required expertise and level of assistance for SAKI sites to establish effective and sustainable practices for collecting and processing lawfully owed DNA and forensic evidence, entering data in the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP), investigating and prosecuting violent cold case crimes, and enhancing family and victim services to support survivors of sexual assault and other violent crimes.
During this 3-day meeting, you will have the opportunity to engage with your fellow SAKI grantees about current challenges and successes within and across state and local jurisdictions.
Featured sessions include presenters from the Nevada Attorney General's Office, who will highlight a case that used forensic genetic genealogy to aid in the resolution of a 40 year-old homicide.
Additional topics of interest will include behaviorally informed suspect interviews, ethical considerations and prosecutorial strategies for sexual assault and sexually motivated homicide cases, ways to enhance law enforcement response to victims, lawfully owed DNA, cell phone analysis, DNA methodologies, and more. The final day of the event will focus on trauma-informed victim interviewing.
You will also have the opportunity to meet with representatives from BJA and the SAKI TTA Team during an "Office Hours" session.
We thank each of you who will be attending this meeting and contributing your vision, knowledge, and experience to resolving this national problem. We look forward to your participation, ideas, and insight as we build new relationships, foster collaborations, and derive best practices for an improved national response to violent crime and sexual assault.