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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 20, 2019
Contact: Robyn Bryan, 202-256-6655, Robyn.Bryan@
Congressman Dan Kildee Announces $1.6 Million for National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative in Flint
Federal Grant will Help Police Process Sexual Assault Kits and Bring Justice to Survivors
WASHINGTON—Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, today announced a $1,650,361 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to help local law enforcement process sexual assault kits.
A sexual assault kit, an exam to gather DNA evidence, can help bring justice for a survivor and stop a person from committing sexual assault or further offenses. The grant will provide the appropriate funding for both rape kit testing and reform.
“I am proud to announce this important grant for the people of Flint. The National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative not only gives law enforcement and prosecutors the tools they need to investigate crimes but brings justice to survivors of sexual assault in our community. With this grant, our community will be able to better identify predators and prevent future violent crimes,” said Congressman Kildee.
The National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) reduces violent crime and supports local law enforcement officers and prosecutors by:
- Providing resources to address sexual assault kits in their custody that have not been submitted to a forensic laboratory for testing.
- Improving investigation and prosecution in connection with evidence and cases resulting from the testing process.
- Aiding sites in collecting DNA samples from individuals and loading the profiles into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). CODIS compares DNA profiles electronically and can link violent crimes to known offenders.
- Helping investigators with how to more effectively question subjects, which could provide stronger investigative leads and build stronger prosecutorial cases, which in turn could help solve more crimes.
It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of rape kits sit untested in police and crime lab storage facilities across the country. Because of inadequate resources to timely and properly test the kits, many have gone untested. Michigan currently has 1,177 untested kits in which some are close to 30 years old. However, the amount of untested kits in Michigan was once in the tens of thousands.
While the backlogged rape kits are in progress for testing, Michigan has reached a benchmark of reform. For instance, Michigan recently established a new statewide rape kit tracking system, Track-Kit, in 2018. With the development of a rape kit tracking system, Michigan has built a mechanism for survivors to check the status of their kits as well as ensure that hospitals, law enforcement, and labs are collaborating throughout the process.