On June 25, 2015, the General Assembly passed Senate Joint Resolution 1 (SJR 1). This resolution called for every law enforcement agency to report to the Attorney General’s Office the number of untested sexual assault kits. The report provided us with a count of 1,033 untested sexual assault kits that were in the evidence storage facilities of our police agencies.
The Delaware Criminal Justice Council (CJC) applied and was awarded a grant from The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to address the backlog of Untested Sexual Assault Kits. The CJC was awarded a three year, $1,168,662.00 SAKI Grant to address the backlog in September of 2015.
“The goal of this grant program is to address the growing number of unsubmitted SAKs in law enforcement custody, and to help provide resolution for victims when possible. There is broad consensus that this must be accomplished through a comprehensive approach to the problem. Grant funding will be used to inventory the existing numbers of untested SAKs, test these kits, and pursue new investigative leads and potential prosecution, and ensure that support is provided throughout the investigation and prosecution process. The CJC will also work to create or improve an evidence-tracking systems, provide training on sexual assault investigations, and increase the collection of offender DNA for CODIS upload purposes. This may lead to the identification of potential suspects and even serial sex offenders. We will also work to help create policies, procedures, and possibly legislation, to ensure that we eliminate any future backlog of sexual assault kits in Delaware.
The Delaware SAKI Site Coordinator is Michael Kelly. Michael has served the majority of his career in law enforcement retiring from the New Castle County Police after 20 years of service spending the majority of his career working in Detectives with victims of sexual and physical abuse.
Delaware has formed a multi-disciplinary steering committee and three sub-committees (Law Enforcement, SANE and Victims Services) to provide direction and to address the issues outlined in the federal grant application. Every department in the state with untested kits has been visited, inventoried, and relevant case information has been recorded into our database. The Bureau of Justice Assistance has certified Delaware’s list of Untested Sexual Assault Kits and the testing process of those kits with a contracted outside laboratory is underway.