Intro and background
The Iowa Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) project was created in April, 2015. The Crime Victim Assistance Division (CVAD) of the Iowa Department of Justice began the process of applying for a federal grant solicited by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) under the Office of Justice Programs within the United States Department of Justice. Iowa was awarded $3 million through both a 2015 and 2016 grant to support the various steps of the Iowa SAKI project.
In 2016 Iowa began the process of conducting a survey of Iowa’s law enforcement agencies to determine how many unsubmitted sexual assault kits existed throughout the state. All 387 active police departments and sheriffs’ offices responded to the survey. The resulting inventory disclosed 4,265 unsubmitted sexual assault kits. (Iowa SAKI Inventory Report)
In June of 2016 Iowa began submitting the sexual assault kits identified through the inventory process for testing with a private DNA lab. The kits were submitted in batches of approximately 50 per month. In March of 2018 the number of kits submitted each month was raised to 100. Once the test results come in, the law enforcement agencies and jurisdictional county attorneys will be notified. Upon notification, the agencies will review the case in light of any new information that may have been provided and determine if the case will be re-opened for investigation.
The issue of unsubmitted sexual assault kits is not unique to Iowa. This is an issue that agencies across the United States have been working to resolve. The goals of the SAKI project are to enact criminal justice reform to ensure all processes are victim-centered and trauma-informed, to promote accountability, to bring justice to victims of sexual assault, and to ensure public safety through the identification of offenders and serial offenders.
This website is intended to provide up-to-date information on the progress of the Iowa SAKI Project as well as provide resources to the criminal justice agencies involved in sexual assault response, the community, and to survivors of sexual assault. Iowa is committed to resolving the issue of unsubmitted sexual assault kits as well as providing support and justice to victims across the state.