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

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SAKI awarded the City of Duluth Police Department and their partners a grant of over $1 million in FY2015, which the department used to fund several positions—including a sex crimes investigator, an advocate, and a SAKI site coordinator; clerical support; and attorney time for the St. Louis County Attorney's Office.

The City of Duluth Police Department has used SAKI funding to accomplish the following:

  • Test more than 100 previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits (SAKs). Testing these previously unsubmitted SAKs has resulted in 31 Combined DNA Index System (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.
  • Launch the Betty Skye information line and email in April 2016, which allows survivors to contact confidential community-based advocates to learn the status of their cases and access the full range of advocacy services.

In FY2016, SAKI awarded the City of Duluth Police Department additional funding in the amount of $444,152 to improve the quality of responses to future reports of sexual assaults. Emphasis was placed on strengthening the Sexual Assault Nurse Examination program, funding a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) coordinator position, training a full-time evidence technician to specialize in SAK maintenance, updating anonymous reporting protocol to increase conversion of anonymous SAKs to standard reports, and improving the rate at which previously unsubmitted SAKs and related evidence are submitted for testing.

Duluth received an additional $626,835 in SAKI funding in FY2017. The additional funding was used to decrease the time needed to test previously unsubmitted SAKs and increase investigations and prosecutions of non-local suspects for cases that have previously unsubmitted SAKs.

In FY2018, Duluth received an additional $1-million grant to hire another SAKI-designated investigator, contract a researcher to evaluate victim participation and satisfaction, and extend funding and collaboration between the initiative's core partners. Duluth increased the number of investigations and prosecutions that had evidence from testing SAKs, evaluated anonymous reporting options for survivors, and developed protocols to acquire survivors' consent for SAK testing.

Duluth received $727,651 in SAKI funds in FY2019 to continue the work they have been doing since their first award in FY2015. With this new funding, they will add teletherapy for survivors and develop protocols for suspect exams conducted by SANEs. The City of Duluth will also enhance Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault (PAVSA) services to expedite therapy to victims, which helps address potential trauma and prevent revictimization; expand PAVSA SANE services to offer suspect exams; and continue testing SAKs to discover evidence, which leads to new investigations and prosecutions.

In FY2020, Duluth received $1,341,161 in SAKI funds; this funding spans two purpose areas. With this new funding, Duluth will transition their SAKI multidisciplinary team (MDT) into a Cold Case Working Group and integrate SAKI MDT-developed reforms into a response for all stakeholders to use for current sexual assault cases. The City of Duluth will also build a census of offenders who lawfully owe DNA samples in Duluth and St. Louis County, develop a collection plan for those owed DNA samples, submit samples for testing, and track testing/case outcomes.

In Duluth, PAVSA helps sexual assault survivors reconnect with law enforcement to determine the status and possible new details about cases. Call the confidential Betty Skye Line to connect with a PAVSA advocate at 218-730-5449 or email 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.

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

City of Duluth Police Department Funding

Year Amount Purpose Area
FY2015 $1,011,096 Comprehensive Approach to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits
FY2016 $444,152 Comprehensive Approach to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits
FY2017 $626,835 Comprehensive Approach to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits
FY2018 $1,000,000 Comprehensive Approach to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits
FY2019 $727,651 Comprehensive Approach to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits
FY2020 $662,659 Expansion of DNA Databases to Assist with Sexual Assault Investigations and Prosecutions: Collection of Lawfully Owed DNA from Convicted Offenders and Arrestee DNA Collections
FY2020 $678,502 Investigation and Prosecution of Cold Case Sexual Assaults

Please direct all media inquiries to:

To learn more about the City of Duluth Police Department's progress, read the following news and events.

City of Duluth Police Department (Minnesota) Grantee Site Representatives

News and Events

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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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.

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