Alaska Receives Federal Grant to Address Unprocessed Sexual Assault Kits - P.O.W. Report

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Alaska Receives Federal Grant to Address Unprocessed Sexual Assault Kits

No. 16-093
Contact: Katie Marquette, Press Secretary – (907) 269-7447
Jonathon Taylor, Deputy Press Secretary – (907) 465-3985

October 4, 2016 ANCHORAGE – Governor Bill Walker announced today that Alaska will receive a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to process over 1,000 sexual assault kits in possession of the Alaska State Troopers (AST). This follows an inventory review conducted by the Governor’s Office and Troopers, which determined there are more than 3,000 unprocessed sexual assault kits in possession of law enforcement agencies across the state.
The three-year grant from the Department of Justice will allow AST kits to be assessed at the state crime lab for probative value, and pay for a cold case investigator and prosecuting attorney to focus on cases that result from the review.

“Alaska has some of the highest rates of sexual assault and domestic violence in the nation. We must end this terrible epidemic, and that starts by addressing the thousands of sexual assault kits in the possession of law enforcement,” said Governor Walker. “We owe it to victims and their families to deliver justice to perpetrators and bring closure to these tragic experiences.”

In partnership with the Governor’s Office, Alaska State Troopers have finished a complete inventory of sexual response kits in the department’s possession. Approximately 1,000 kits in jurisdictional control of AST will be transferred to the Alaska Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory for processing and potential prosecution. Additionally, the University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center will evaluate the kits to identify any consistent factors that could have led investigators to not process them in the first place. These factors will inform statewide trainings to all AST detachments, and encourage changes in law enforcement statewide.
A multi-disciplinary team lead by Governor Walker’s Senior Advisor on Crime Policy and Prevention Amanda Price, and including representatives from the statewide rape crisis center, Standing Together Against Rape, and the Office of Victims’ Rights, will work to address policy change and ensure a strong victim-centered response by law enforcement going forward.

“While we cannot solve these problems overnight, this grant will help us to make great strides in reducing the number of unprocessed sexual assault kits in Alaska. I thank Amanda Price and the many other dedicated public officials who have been steadfast in seeing these efforts to fruition,” Governor Walker said. “These kits represent real people who are the victims of horrific crimes. We owe it to them, and all Alaskans, to end this pattern and ensure sexual assault kits are processed in a timely manner.”

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