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State completes testing on previously unsubmitted sex assault kits

in Community

MADISON – Testing has been completed on all sexual assault kits initially inventoried and designated for testing in Wisconsin’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, or WiSAKI, Attorney General Brad Schimel announced this week.

“I am proud to announce that testing is complete on all 4,154 kits slated for testing. In less than three years, we will have tested the kits that built up over several decades, and justice can be served to sexual assault survivors,” Schimel said.

WiSAKI is a statewide effort to address the decades-long accumulation of previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits, SAKs, that were in the possession of local law enforcement agencies and hospitals across Wisconsin. Information on the history of the project, as well as status updates and data on key stages of the project can be found on the project’s website: wisaki.doj.wi.gov.

Now that testing is completed on the kits from the initial inventory, the next phases of the WiSAKI project are continuing, according to the state Department of Justice. The testing results are undergoing technical review. Agencies are being notified of hits. Where appropriate, results are being uploaded to the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). Survivors are being notified. And cases are being opened or re-opened for investigation and prosecution. This also includes testing any additional kits a survivor seeks to have tested or any kits that may be identified by local law enforcement agencies or hospitals.

The WiSAKI team is also working to expand the statewide sexual assault response training program sponsored by DOJ to equip more law enforcement officers, prosecutors, sexual assault nurse examiners and victim advocates with the specialized knowledge and resources needed to properly respond to sexual assault cases.

In addition, the team is developing and implementing a sexual assault kit tracking system that will track a kit from the point of manufacture, to hospitals, to law enforcement and through submission to the state crime lab. This system is intended to offer an option for survivors to access information about the location of their kit and will provide a mechanism for the ongoing auditing of sexual assault kit submissions.

For additional assistance connecting with advocacy and support services, contact the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault at 608-257-1516 or ByYourSideWI.org.

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