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Testing Sexual Assault Kits Saves Money and Prevents Future Sexual Assaults

NCJ Number
Date Published
5 pages
This article reports on key findings from a cost-benefit analysis of testing sexual assault kits (SAKs) from the backlog of SAKs in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, which is part of the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) funded by the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).
Since early 2015, the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University has been the independent research partner of the Cuyahoga County, Ohio, SAK Task Force, which is conducting an action research project that is examining untested SAKs in the county. The county is currently following up with the investigation and prosecution from the DNA testing of nearly 7,000 SAKs. The analysis found that as of January 2016, the county had saved a net total of $38.7 million, or $8,893 per tested SAK. This was compared with a cost of just over $200,000 incurred by the victim in pain and suffering, earnings lost to injury, medical expenditures, and decreased quality of life. The study also found that serial sex offending is more common than previous research suggests, with offenders often varying their offending patterns. In Cuyhoga County alone, funding for the testing of backlogged SAKs has helped provide justice to thousands of sexual assault victims and led to the prosecution of hundreds of sex offenders, many of whom were serial sex offenders. The study's key recommendations are to test all SAKS, follow up the testing with a thorough investigation and prosecution, view each sexual assault as possibly perpetrated by a serial sex offender, and DNA should be collected and tested to allow crimes to be linked.

Date Published: January 1, 2019