Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) GranteeWisconsin Department of Justice

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SAKI awarded the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) a grant in the amount of $4 million, which the department will use to pay for unsubmitted SAK testing, create a multidisciplinary team to inventory and track SAKs, provide training and technical assistance, and enhance services and notifications to victims of sexual assault.

In 2016, SAKI awarded the Wisconsin DOJ additional funding to provide additional resources to local sexual assault service providers and increase storage capacity at the Wisconsin State Crime laboratory. The Wisconsin Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, called WiSAKI, takes a comprehensive, statewide approach to addressing the approximately 6,000 unsubmitted sexual assault kits identified through their inventory. In 2017, the Wisconsin DOJ and the Attorney General's Sexual Assault Response Team are conducting an outreach effort to connect victims with their SAKS and work with them while they decide whether to engage with law enforcement.

Find more information and resources from the Wisconsin Sexual Assault Kit Initiative.

Funded in 2015, Wisconsin DOJ has used SAKI funding to achieve several goals and milestones:

  • In January 2016, the WI Department of Justice amended the rules for submitting evidence to the WI State Crime Lab (WSCL) to allow for the submission of sexual assault forensic kits directly from a SANE program or hospital. While law enforcement agencies remain the only entities that can submit evidence for testing, SANE programs can submit a kit directly to the WSCL for storage. This new process provides survivors across the state the option of having evidence collected after an assault while deciding whether they want to report to law enforcement. Kits sent to the WSCL from a SANE program will be stored for up to ten years, which is the statute of limitations for second and third degree sexual assault in Wisconsin. If the survivor decides they want to report to law enforcement, the kit can be pulled from storage and tested as part of the investigation.
  • In December 2016, five SARTs from around the state, along with DOJ's SAKI SART, participated in a two-day, interactive, scenario-based training provided through the SAKI TTA. Nationally renowned subject matter experts Jim Markey, Linda Ledray, Patti Powers, and Misty Marra provided one of the most engaging, informative trainings most participants had ever attended. This training was an incredible opportunity to learn about the benefits of a SART and the different roles and responsibilities of every team member.
  • In March 2017, the SAKI team completed a massive, statewide inventory of the unsubmitted sexual assault kits in the possession of Wisconsin's 557 law enforcement jurisdictions as well as all the SANE programs and hospitals conducting exams in the state. The inventory achieved 100% participation without the need to legislate or mandate participation.

In 2017, the Wisconsin DOJ received $2 million in additional funding, which will go toward continuing the WiSAKI program and ensuring all unsubmitted SAKs are tested. The Wisconsin DOJ will also invest the money in providing law enforcement officers, SANEs, and victim advocates with victim-centered, trauma-informed training.

Please direct all media inquiries to:

To learn more about their progress, read below for other news and events out of Wisconsin Department of Justice. Explore the materials and resources available for survivors in Wisconsin at byyoursidewi.org.

News and Events

Kentucky man suspected in 11-year-old sexual assault case in Tomah
Steve Rundio, The Tomah Journal, Dec 6, 2018
A suspect is announced in an 11-year-old cold case sexual assault after DNA from a previously unsubmitted sexual assault kit is matched to his using a DNA database.

Arbor Vitae man charged with child sexual assault following tests on 2013 sexual assault kit
Lane Kimble, NEws Watch 12, Dec 3, 2018
DNA evidence from a previously unsubmitted sexual assault kit leads to an arrest in a case from 2013.

Trial date set for man charged in decades-old sexual assault
Fox 11 News, Nov 5, 2018
Trial date is set for the first suspect charged in Wisconsin due to the testing of previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits through the Wisconsin Sexual Assault Kit Initiative.

DOJ completes review of sexual assault kit tests
Teymour Tomsyck, Channel 3000, Oct 18, 2018
The Wisconsin DOJ has received $1 million SAKI grant to continue their Wisconsin SAKI program. The additional funding will help the WiSAKI program train local prosecutors, compile information from the kits, and support additional analysis of the kits.

AG Schimel Announces Testing Completed on Sexual Assault Kits
Wisconsin Department of Justice, Sep 10, 2018
The Wisconsin Department of Justice has completed testing on all sexual assault kits initially inventoried and designated for testing as part of Wisconsin’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative.

AG Schimel Holds Statewide Sexual Assault Response Team Meeting
Wisconsin Department of Justice, Aug 21, 2018
During a recent Statewide Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) meeting, Attorney General Brad Schimel appointed a new co-chair and 16 new members. The SART evaluates the response to sexual assault at the city, county, and state level and makes recommendations to improve the response to sexual assault.

Rape kit leads to new charges
Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News, Jun 15, 2018
Testing resulting from Wisconsin's Sexual Assault Kit Initiative leads to charges in a case from 2000. The man charged is a serial sexual offender.

As state clears sex assault kit backlog, teams work to empower victims
Sarah Thomsen, WBAY, May 29, 2018
The Wisconsin DOJ announced the last batch of previously unsubmitted SAKs in the state has been sent for testing and will be completed by the end of 2018.

Rape kit testing leads to charges against Marion man in assault
Alison Dirr and Keegan Kyle, Post Crescent, Apr 25, 2018
A Marion man has been charged with sexual assault after the testing of previously unsubmitted SAKs in Wisconsin. This is the second prosecution stemming from the testing of previously unsubmitted SAKs by the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

DOJ to Clear Sexual Assault Testing Backlog by End of 2018
usnews.com, Nov 2, 2017
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel announced that the Department of Justice will process all previously submitted sexual assault kits by the end of 2018 with the assistance of federal funding provided by the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative.

Testing could begin next week on 247 Green Bay rape kits
Doug Schneider, Green Bay Press-Gazette, Jun 2, 2017
Green Bay Police received good news when they were told they could begin sending their backlogged rape kits to the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory in Madison, WI for testing. To learn more about the backlog in Wisconsin and what the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative grant funding is doing to remediate the issue, read the full article.

SAKI TTA Webinar - Conducting a Large-Scale, Multi-Jurisdictional Inventory
SAKI TTA, Mar 21, 2017
Join SAKI TTA for an upcoming webinar focusing on the Wisconsin Department of Justice's comprehensive statewide inventory of previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits. This webinar will discuss the inventory steps the project team took and what they learned throughout the process. This webinar will also touch on how their methodology could be applied to other states conducting similar efforts.

WI DOJ Launches Program To Address Backlog Of Untested Sexual Assault Evidence Kits
Laurel White, Wisconsin Public Radio, Jan 30, 2017
A new initiative by the Wisconsin Department of Justice and a sexual assault prevention group aims to decrease the backlog of sexual assault evidence kits in the state. The initiative, called “By Your Side,” reaches out to survivors of sexual assault who have had kits collected and provides connections to support services. Read the full story or visit www.byyoursidewi.org to learn more.

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