Minnesota Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Project
What is SAKI?
SAKI stands for Sexual Assault Kit Initiative. SAKI is a nation-wide project that addresses the accumulation of untested sexual assault kits (SAKs). MNCASA works with professionals across the state to help address the accumulation of sexual assault kits in their community.
The Minnesota Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Project is funded by a $2 million grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance in 2018 (Grant No. 2018-AK-BX-0019) and subsequent grants in 2019 (Grant No. 2019-AK-BX-0018) and 2020 (Grant No. 2020-AK-BX-0008).
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An unsubmitted sexual assault kit includes SAKs that have not been submitted to a forensic laboratory for testing and analysis using CODIS-eligible DNA methodologies.
A sexual assault kit inventory is an inventory of sexual assault kits held by local law enforcement agencies that was conducted in 2015 by the BCA at the direction of the Minnesota legislature. That inventory determined that there were 3,482 sexual assault kits that were collected over the years as part of investigations, but not submitted for testing. When a sexual assault kit is collected from a victim, the investigating agency has the option to submit it to a forensic science laboratory for testing to determine whether it contains information helpful to the investigation. In the 2015 inventory, agencies said sexual assault kits had not been submitted for testing for reasons including the suspect confessed, the act was deemed consensual, prosecution was declined, the victim decided not to proceed, it was an anonymous report, and other reasons. This information was based on data provided to the BCA by law enforcement agencies throughout the state.
The two grants provide funding to test most, but not all, of the previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits identified in 2015 sexual assault kit inventory. All unsubmitted sexual assault kits will be evaluated to determine whether testing would potentially further an investigation or assist the grantees with developing sexual assault investigation protocols.
Only those sexual assault kits where a victim gave permission for the sexual assault kit to be tested at the time of the incident will be considered for testing. Prior to August of 2018, if the victim reported to law enforcement, that is interpreted as consent to test their sexual assault kit, unless the victim specifically requested their sexual assault kit not be tested. If the victim did not report to law enforcement, the sexual assault kit will not be tested. If the victim later withdraws their consent, the sexual assault kit will not be tested. As a result of a change in the law, sexual assault kits after August 2018 are classified as either restricted or unrestricted based on the survivor’s decision whether or not to consent to forensic testing of the sexual assault kit.
Under Minnesota law, a sexual assault victim can obtain information about the status of their sexual assault kit by contacting the investigating agency. Victims can obtain the date the sexual assault kit was submitted to the forensic laboratory, the date the agency received notice of the results of testing, and whether a DNA profile was obtained from the testing.