Wisconsin’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (WiSAKI) is a statewide effort to address the accumulation of unsubmitted sexual assault kits (SAK) in the possession of local law enforcement agencies and hospitals. In September 2015, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) was awarded two, $2 million grants to implement this effort. DOJ was one of only nine sites to receive both grants and one of only a few grantees that was tackling this issue on a statewide level.
Map courtesy of the US Bureau of Justice Assistance.
DOJ took the initiative and voluntarily stepped forward to coordinate and lead a multidisciplinary response involving law enforcement, prosecutors, hospitals, victim advocates and crime lab analysts. These professionals worked to create a protocol and plan for inventorying and testing the unsubmitted kits. The plan and protocol prioritizes victim consent, determination of the reason the kit was not submitted and discernment of the victim’s wishes of whether or not to engage with the criminal justice system.
DOJ, along with our partners in law enforcement, victim advocacy programs, and sexual assault nurse examiner programs, has worked diligently to address this issue. And, although we have accomplished much, there is still more to do. At DOJ, we are passionately working to support sexual assault victims, hold offenders accountable, and ensuring untested sexual assault kits never accumulate without a plan again. We invite all who share in this belief to work with us to meet this challenge.