Bringing Justice to Survivors

For more than twenty years, sexual assault kits (SAKs) have accumulated in Wisconsin and across the nation. As Wisconsin’s Attorney General, I have made testing these kits a top priority. Wisconsin is one of several states addressing this problem on a statewide level and we have been nationally recognized as a leader based on our approach to this issue. As a career prosecutor, I understand the importance of seeking justice for survivors of sexual assault and I am committed to doing so. At the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ), we are seeking solutions for a problem that has been decades in the making.

Eliminating the accumulation of sexual assault kits in our state is a vital step toward improving Wisconsin’s criminal justice response to sexual violence. I have assembled a multi-disciplinary team of scientists, law enforcement officers, victim advocates, forensic nurse examiners, prosecutors, and survivors to work on this initiative. Our work will not end when these kits have been tested. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors will be tasked with investigating cases and prosecuting offenders identified, in part, through the testing of these kits.  

The objectives of the Wisconsin Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (WiSAKI) are to support survivors of sexual assault, protect the community, and hold offenders accountable using a trauma-informed, victim-centered approach. Here at DOJ, we are implementing new protocols and are dedicated to working toward the goal of ensuring unsubmitted sexual assault kits never accumulate again. We invite you to explore this website and return regularly to learn more about our work and progress.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Wisconsin Sexual Assault Kit Initiative?

The Wisconsin Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (WiSAKI) is a statewide effort to address the accumulation of unsubmitted sexual assault kits (SAKs) in the possession of local law enforcement agencies and hospitals. Initiated by the Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Response Team (AG SART) and led by the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ), WiSAKI is a collaborative effort among law enforcement, victim advocates, sexual assault nurse examiners, prosecutors, health care systems, and the Wisconsin State Crime Lab (WSCL).  

What is an unsubmitted sexual assault kit?

An unsubmitted sexual assault kit is a sexual assault kit that has not been submitted to a forensic laboratory for testing and analysis using Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) eligible DNA methodologies. For more information about CODIS, click here.

Is there information on the number of sexual assault kits inventoried, how many will be tested, and why they weren't tested before?

WiSAKI conducted a detailed, statewide inventory of every unsubmitted sexual assault kit in the possession of law enforcement agencies and hospitals across the state. After a year of collecting case-specific information from all of Wisconsin’s 557 law enforcement agencies and every hospital that conducts forensic exams, DOJ was able to report to BJA that there were approximately 6,300 sexual assault kits around the state. Data about kits inventoried and which kits will be tested can be found on the Data & Results page.

Are all of the kits being tested?

While most of the previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits (SAKs) will be tested, the WiSAKI project's victim centered approach has meant there are certain circumstances in which the SAKs are not currently designated for testing. To learn more about those reasons and the breakdown click here.

Will you only test a kit if the survivor consents?

For the majority of the cases, if the victim reported the assault to law enforcement, that is interpreted as consent to test their kit. If the victim did not report to law enforcement the kit will not be tested. The exception to this rule is for assaults occurring after July 1, 2011, in which the suspect is not identified to law enforcement. State statute (§ 175.405) requires that these kits be submitted to the WSCL.

WiSAKI News

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel is proud to announce the Wisconsin Department of Justice was awarded $4 million in grant funding today to eliminate untested sexual assault forensic evidence kits.

Today, Attorney General Brad Schimel announced, as part of the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI), that the Wisconsin Department of Justice will award $920,000 for sexual assault victim support services.

MADISON, Wis. -  the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched a website dedicated to keeping the public updated on Wisconsin’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (WiSAKI).

MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel has made supporting victims of sexual assault one of his top priorities.

Attorney General Brad Schimel announced today that  Wisconsin’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (WiSAKI), a statewide effort to address the decades-old accumulation of previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits that were in the possession of local law enforcement agencies and hospitals, will complete testing by the end of 2018 and two additional labs have been contracted to test these kits.