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Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) GranteeWisconsin Department of Justice

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In FY2015, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) received two grants totaling $4 million, which the department has used 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 sexual assault victims. The Wisconsin Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (WiSAKI) takes a comprehensive, statewide approach to addressing over 6,000 unsubmitted sexual assault kits (SAKs) identified through their inventory.

In FY2016, SAKI awarded the Wisconsin DOJ additional funding to provide resources to local sexual assault service providers and increase storage capacity at the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory (WSCL).

In FY2017, the Wisconsin DOJ received $2 million in additional funding, which went toward continuing the WiSAKI program and testing all unsubmitted SAKs. The Wisconsin DOJ also invested the money in providing law enforcement officers, sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs), and victim advocates with victim-centered, trauma-informed training and began the planning process for implementing a SAK tracking system.

In FY2018, the Wisconsin DOJ received $1,033,829 in additional funding to support an Assistant Attorney General. This role provides ongoing training and technical assistance to local prosecutors, addresses issues related to collection of lawfully owed DNA, expands research resources, and supports the entry of all criteria cases into the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program.

In FY2019, the Wisconsin DOJ received $1,839,118 in additional funding. The Wisconsin DOJ is using part of this funding to ensure adequate resources to assist local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors in pursuing investigative leads and prosecutions linked to testing previously unsubmitted SAKs. Additionally, this money will go toward supporting collaboration between sexual assault service providers and local law enforcement to notify survivors of testing results or new developments related to their case, as well as developing and implementing a SAK tracking system.

Find more information and resources from WiSAKI.

Funded in FY2015, the Wisconsin DOJ has used SAKI funding to achieve the following goals and milestones:

  • January 2016: Amended the rules for submitting evidence to the WSCL to allow for the submission of SAKs directly from a SANE program or hospital. Although law enforcement agencies remain the only entities that can submit evidence for testing, SANE programs can submit a SAK directly to the WSCL for storage. This new process gives survivors across the state the option of having evidence collected after an assault while deciding whether they want to report the crime to law enforcement. SAKs sent to the WSCL from a SANE program will be stored for up to 10 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 SAK can be pulled from storage and tested as part of the investigation.
  • December 2016: Participated in a 2-day, interactive, scenario-based training provided through the SAKI TTA Team; participants included members from five sexual assault response teams (SARTs) from around the state, along with the Wisconsin DOJ's SAKI SART. This training was an incredible opportunity to learn about the benefits of a SART and the different roles and responsibilities of every team member.
  • March 2017: Completed a massive, statewide inventory of the unsubmitted SAKs 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.
  • August 2019: Commemorated the accomplishment of having Wisconsin's first SAKI case go to trial. A jury convicted the defendant on three class C felonies, three counts of second-degree sexual assault. The Assistant Attorney General who prosecuted the case had this to say: "It was really amazing to see the victim have her day in court after waiting for 8 years. The strength she showed throughout this long journey is amazing. We know that the SAKI project will have more successes to come, but even if the whole project only resulted in today’s verdict, we can definitely say that every dollar, every second of time was worth it." The offender was sentenced to 25 years in prison, followed by 15 years of extended supervision.

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

Wisconsin Department of Justice Funding

Year Amount Purpose Area
FY2015 $2,000,000 Comprehensive Approach to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits
FY2016 $1,108,914 Comprehensive Approach to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits
FY2017 $2,000,000 Comprehensive Approach to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits
FY2018 $1,033,829 Comprehensive Approach to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits
FY2019 $1,839,118 Comprehensive Approach to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits

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To learn more about Wisconsin DOJ's progress, read the following news and events. Explore the materials and resources available for survivors in Wisconsin at byyoursidewi.org.

Wisconsin Department of Justice Grantee Site Representatives

News and Events

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 tosupport services. Read the full story or visit www.byyoursidewi.org to learn more.

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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.

This Web site is funded in whole or in part through a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Neither the U.S. Department of Justice nor any of its components operate, control, are responsible for, or necessarily endorse, this Web site (including, without limitation, its content, technical infrastructure, and policies, and any services or tools provided).

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