Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) GranteeWest Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services

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The West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services received funding in 2015 and 2016 to create a coordinated community response to reduce the number of unsubmitted sexual assault kits in the state. The SAKI grant award will be used to form a multidisciplinary team to conduct an inventory of unsubmitted SAKs, assign designated personnel to pursue new leads, develop policies and protocols to provide trauma-informed victim notifications, and prosecute cases. West Virginia will also create a new electronic data exchange to enable the tracking of sexual assault kits through the criminal justice system.

Find more information and resources from the West Virginia Sexual Assault Kit Initiative and the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services.

Funded in 2015, the West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services has used SAKI funding to achieve several goals and milestones:

  • West Virginia has started receiving CODIS hits and investigations have begun victim notifications.
  • A law enforcement working group has been established, to continue the progression of having a multi-disciplinary process for sexual assault investigations.

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To learn more about their progress, read below for other news and events out of West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services.

News and Events

West Virginia's Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit Information System Named Finalist for National Award
West Virginia, Mar 3, 2017
The West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit Information System has been selected as one of 30 finalists for the 2017 Igniting Innovation Showcase held on March 14, 2017 in Washington, D.C. The Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit Information System was developed by the WV Division of Justice and Community Service and the WV State Police Forensic Laboratory in partnership with WV.gov. The system will enable tracking of sexual assault kits from the time they are sent to a healthcare facility through when they are tested and is an innovative improvement for the tracking and evaluation of sexual assault kits.

Partnership works to fulfill sexual assault kit initiative
Joe Thornton, The Herald-Dispatch, Oct 16, 2016
After receiving $1 million in funding from the federal government in 2015, West Virginia completed an inventory of nearly 1,000 sexual assault kits, began testing them, developed a tracking system, and created a group of skilled individuals to brainstorm how to prevent a SAK backlog in the future. A partnership between SAKI and the District Attorney of New York allows West Virginia to move forward with a victim-centered approach. To learn more, read the full article.

First arrest made under new sexual assault kit program
Alyssa Meisner, TriStateUpdate.com, Sep 28, 2016
After receiving funding to inventory and test its backlogged sexual assault kits, West Virginia’s state crime lab found a DNA match, and law enforcement personnel made their first arrest. To learn more, watch the full video.

West Virginia aims to eliminate untested sexual assault kits and improve evidence collection
Ian McQuinn, Business Wire, Sep 20, 2016
The West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services recently completed the development of a new online system that tracks sexual assault kits from the time they are shipped to a health care facility to when they are collected and returned for forensic testing. The system also collects information on the quality of the collected SAKs that will be used to identify areas of improvement and training opportunities. The new online tracking system enables the associated crime labs and police departments to track SAKs that are sent to a facility and when. To learn more about West Virginia’s new tracking system, read the full article.

Quick action in Cabell rape kit backlog case is expected
Courtney Hessler, The Herald-Dispatch, Sep 15, 2016
A serial rapist is now behind bars due to the results from testing backlogged rape kits in West Virginia. The perpetrator committed the crime in 2004, but was not implicated in the assault until 2016, after West Virginia received funding from the federal government to test all of its backlogged rape kits in cold storage. To learn more, read the full article.

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