West Virginia to receive over 250 thousand dollars for sexual assault kits

WASHINGTON (WOAY) – Office of Justice Programs Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan today announced awards of more than $45 million to help law enforcement agencies and crime labs process sexual assault evidence and increase the number of sexual assault kits submitted to crime labs in order to solve more crimes, including cold cases.

OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance made 36 grants to support the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI), an effort to strengthen jurisdictions’ capacity to act on evidence resulting from rape kits, and three grants to the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence ‒ Inventory, Tracking and Reporting (SAFE-ITR) program.

“Far too many people endure the physical and emotional trauma of a sexual assault only to have evidence of the crime remain unanalyzed,” said Sullivan. “These grants will help investigators get these kits to labs, where they can be tested, used to solve crimes and ultimately bring justice to victims.”

With this year’s funding, SAKI has committed more than $238 million to 70 sites across 44 states. As of December 2019, SAKI sites had uploaded 20,005 eligible DNA profiles to the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), where the profiles have found 9,892 matches to offenders and additional crimes, including long-standing cold cases. From 2016, SAFE ‒ ITR has distributed 19 awards valued at nearly $8 million.

“We are committed to supporting the SAKI and SAFE ‒ ITR programs, which empower law enforcement to identify and remove rapists from our streets through the analysis of critical forensic evidence,” said Kendel Ehrlich, Acting Director of BJA. “These grants will help state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies reduce the number of unsubmitted sexual assault kits, expand their capacity for handling forensic evidence in the future, resolve more sexual assault cases and bring a measure of justice to victims of sexual assault.”

For a complete list of individual grant programs, amounts, and the jurisdictions that will receive funding, click here.

Additional information about Fiscal Year 2020 grant awards made by the Office of Justice Programs can be found online at the OJP Awards Data webpage.

Tyler Barker
Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com