(STL.News) – The Attorney General’s Office today launched a website to keep the public up to date and provide comprehensive information about Washington’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) program, part of a statewide initiative to end Washington’s rape kit backlog. The Attorney General’s SAKI grant is now funding additional rape kit testing to help clear the backlog even faster.
So far, the state has tested 4,650 out of approximately 9,760 backlogged kits, and entered 1,714 into CODIS, the national DNA evidence database. Of the kits tested so far, 690 have resulted in a “hit,” matching DNA evidence from a kit to other DNA in the database, such as DNA from a known offender.
The website provides a centralized hub for services and resources available to sexual assault survivors across the state. Anyone with questions about the status of their backlogged sexual assault kit may call 833-753-0900 for more information.
Today Ferguson also announced the launch of the testing phase of his office’s SAKI initiative. Using Ferguson’s SAKI grant funding, 52 backlogged sexual assault kits from Kent dating from 2003-2014 were submitted for testing. Ferguson has committed a total of $2.25 million toward testing. The Crime Lab expects to meet the legal requirement to complete testing on all kits collected July 2015 and earlier by the end of next year. The Crime Lab estimates the entire backlog will be tested by mid-2022.
“Every hit we get from backlogged kits is a step closer to justice for survivors of sexual assault,” Ferguson said. “Throughout this project, our SAKI website will be a resource for up-to-date information on our progress. Sexual assault survivors deserve full transparency as we work through the backlog of DNA evidence.”
“The SAKI program has repeatedly shown that when we invest in solving cold cases, all of our communities are safer,” said Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines. “I want to thank the Attorney General’s Office for standing up for survivors in their fight for justice every step of the way.”