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AG Jennings Applauds CJC Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Policy Changes

Department of Justice | Department of Justice Press Releases | News | Date Posted: Tuesday, August 2, 2022



Attorney General Kathy Jennings applauded several policy changes implemented by the Criminal Justice Council as part of its ongoing efforts to strengthen rights for survivors of sexual assault. The new policies establish timelines for the collection, documentation, processing and investigation of assault evidence “kits.” This policy is a result of funding received from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, through the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) program. 

The policy, based on input from law enforcement, the DOJ, and the Division of Forensic Science (DFS) and best practices and model legislation nationwide, details standards and processes for healthcare facilities, law enforcement agencies, DFS, law enforcement-based victim advocacy services, and the Department of Justice to help prevent future sexual assault kit backlogs from forming in Delaware. The new policy also serves to inform survivors about what to expect from state institutions, in addition to the existing Delaware Victim’s Bill of Rights.  

 “I’m grateful for the Criminal Justice council’s tireless work processing Delaware’s rape kit backlog,” said Attorney General Jennings. “These changes  — and the work of our partners in law enforcement, healthcare facilities and the Division of Forensic Science — will aid the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault, help prevent future backlogs, and speed the wheels of justice for survivors.” 

 The policy’s key stipulations include: 

  • Unless the victim elects not to have their kit tested, a law enforcement agency shall take possession of a sexual assault kit within 5 days of notification by the collecting facility;  
  • Contact DFS as soon as possible to schedule a consultation to discuss the evidence collected and what will be tested;  
  • Engage the victim and schedule an interview as needed, while law enforcement agency based Victim Services connects the victim with appropriate resources, consistent with the victim-centered approach outlined in the Delaware SAKI Policy Manual;  
  • Document sexual assault kit related fields in LEISS;  
  • Submit all sexual assault kits collected from the collecting agency to DFS within 30 days; and  
  • Preserve sexual assault kits associated with uncharged or unsolved crimes indefinitely. 

 Delaware received initial SAKI funding in 2015 and in 2018, resulting in the inventory and testing of 1,235 untested sexual assault kits. This effort has resulted in 9 arrests, clearing 24 cases, with active investigations ongoing and arrests forthcoming. Additional details about Delaware’s SAKI project can be found on a designated Delaware Criminal Justice Council webpage: https://cjc.delaware.gov/sexual-assault-kit-initiative-saki/ 

 Survivors with questions about their kit status or investigative outcome should reach out to the investigating law enforcement agency or call the Delaware Victim Center at 800-VICTIM-1 (800-842-8461). 

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AG Jennings Applauds CJC Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Policy Changes

Department of Justice | Department of Justice Press Releases | News | Date Posted: Tuesday, August 2, 2022



Attorney General Kathy Jennings applauded several policy changes implemented by the Criminal Justice Council as part of its ongoing efforts to strengthen rights for survivors of sexual assault. The new policies establish timelines for the collection, documentation, processing and investigation of assault evidence “kits.” This policy is a result of funding received from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, through the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) program. 

The policy, based on input from law enforcement, the DOJ, and the Division of Forensic Science (DFS) and best practices and model legislation nationwide, details standards and processes for healthcare facilities, law enforcement agencies, DFS, law enforcement-based victim advocacy services, and the Department of Justice to help prevent future sexual assault kit backlogs from forming in Delaware. The new policy also serves to inform survivors about what to expect from state institutions, in addition to the existing Delaware Victim’s Bill of Rights.  

 “I’m grateful for the Criminal Justice council’s tireless work processing Delaware’s rape kit backlog,” said Attorney General Jennings. “These changes  — and the work of our partners in law enforcement, healthcare facilities and the Division of Forensic Science — will aid the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault, help prevent future backlogs, and speed the wheels of justice for survivors.” 

 The policy’s key stipulations include: 

  • Unless the victim elects not to have their kit tested, a law enforcement agency shall take possession of a sexual assault kit within 5 days of notification by the collecting facility;  
  • Contact DFS as soon as possible to schedule a consultation to discuss the evidence collected and what will be tested;  
  • Engage the victim and schedule an interview as needed, while law enforcement agency based Victim Services connects the victim with appropriate resources, consistent with the victim-centered approach outlined in the Delaware SAKI Policy Manual;  
  • Document sexual assault kit related fields in LEISS;  
  • Submit all sexual assault kits collected from the collecting agency to DFS within 30 days; and  
  • Preserve sexual assault kits associated with uncharged or unsolved crimes indefinitely. 

 Delaware received initial SAKI funding in 2015 and in 2018, resulting in the inventory and testing of 1,235 untested sexual assault kits. This effort has resulted in 9 arrests, clearing 24 cases, with active investigations ongoing and arrests forthcoming. Additional details about Delaware’s SAKI project can be found on a designated Delaware Criminal Justice Council webpage: https://cjc.delaware.gov/sexual-assault-kit-initiative-saki/ 

 Survivors with questions about their kit status or investigative outcome should reach out to the investigating law enforcement agency or call the Delaware Victim Center at 800-VICTIM-1 (800-842-8461). 

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Keep up to date by receiving a daily digest email, around noon, of current news release posts from state agencies on news.delaware.gov.

Here you can subscribe to future news updates.