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The Evaluation of the Bureau of Justice Assistance Sexual Assault Kit Initiative: Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2020
80 pages

This is the Final Report of the findings and methodology of the national evaluation of the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance’s (BJA’s) Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI), which was established to provide grants and technical assistance to jurisdictions for the support of “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 (SAKs).”


SAKI was established to address the documented large number of SAKs in property storage facilities and crime labs that were either unsubmitted or untested, with some cities reporting just over 10,000 untested SAKs dating back to the 1970s. The analysis of this problem was found to stem from the circumstance of sexual assault cases requiring a community effort that involves the resources of hospitals, law enforcement agencies, crime labs, victim advocacy service providers, and prosecutor’s offices. Limitations in management structures and resources in the community response to sexual assault is the result and evidence of failures in the community response to sexual assault cases. This evaluation tested the effectiveness of the SAKI model in addressing the underlying causes of SAK backlogs. The SAKI evaluation examined whether the implementation of the SAKI model reduced and resolved the issue of unsubmitted SAKs and improved sexual assault case processing through system reform efforts. This report notes that SAKI grantees have generally implemented SAKI components with consistency; however, program evaluability regarding system reform efforts is limited partially by the availability of resources, data, and measurement mechanisms for system reforms and current case efforts. The overall conclusion is that the goal of eliminating unsubmitted SAK backlogs using the SAKI model is “clear, reachable, and relevant;” however, SAKI implementation and outcome limitations are noted, along with evaluation limitations, with recommendations provided. 10 figures, 6 tables, and 18 references

Date Published: December 1, 2020