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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative?
The Sexual Assault Kit Initiative is a statewide effort to address the accumulation of unsubmitted sexual assault kits in the possession of local law enforcement agencies and hospitals. This project is a collaborative effort among law enforcement, victim advocates, sexual assault nurse examiners, prosecutors, health care systems, the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory and the Washington State Attorney General’s Office.
What is a CODIS Hit?
  • CODIS hit: The foreign DNA profile from the sexual assault kit that was uploaded into the Combined DNA Indexing System (CODIS) matched against one or more profiles within CODIS. A sexual assault kit can have more than one CODIS hit, so the total number of hits may exceed the number of sexual assault kits with CODIS hits. This number can continually change as hits can happen indefinitely into the future. A hit can be either a forensic hit or an offender hit.
  1. Forensic hit: The foreign DNA profile from the sexual assault kit that was uploaded into CODIS hit against a profile in the forensic index. The forensic index contains evidentiary profiles from crimes and are connected to incidents or cases and not to specific individual people.
  2. Offender hit: The foreign DNA profile from the sexual assault kit that was uploaded into CODIS hit against a profile in the offender or arrestee index. The offender and arrestee indexes contain DNA profiles obtained at the point of arrest or conviction and are connected to a named individual. For the purposes of this project, offender hits can be classified as cold or warm hits. This terminology and sub-classification is different than current FBI/CODIS terminology.
  3. Cold hit: The foreign DNA profile from the sexual assault kit hit against an offender or arrestee profile and that offender/arrestee was not named as a suspect in the case associated with the sexual assault kit.
  4. Warm (confirmatory) hit: The foreign DNA profile from the sexual assault kit hit against an offender or arrestee profile and that offender/arrestee was named as a suspect in the case associated with the sexual assault kit.
How can I find out if my Sexual Assault Kit is part of the backlog of untested kits?

Survivors with questions can reach the Washington State Attorney General's WA SAKI team at: 833-753-0900.

Who can I contact to find out more information about this project?

For media and general inquires please contact:

Brionna Aho

Communications Director

Brionna.Aho@atg.wa.gov

360-753-2727

Survivors with questions please contact:

833-753-0900

Where can I find resources to help me?

Click here to see a list of community sexual assault programs in Washington State.

How many unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits are in Washington State?

In July of 2015, the Washington State Legislature provided the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory with funding to begin testing the state's backlog of previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits. The Attorney General's WA SAKI team began conducting its inventory in June of 2018 by contacting each law enforcement agency in the state who possessed sexual assault kits and requested a full account of the sexual assault kits in their possession. At that time, 3,025 sexual assault kits had already been submitted to the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab for testing. The inventory conducted by the Attorney General's Office sought to capture information about the sexual assault kits that still had not been submitted for testing at the time of the inventory. The WA SAKI team's inventory, which was completed in October of 2018, found there were still 6,735 unsubmitted SAKs at local law enforcement agencies. For more information about kits and the projects' Data and Results Click here. For more information about the Washington State Attorney General's Inventory Click here.

What is the Washington State Patrol's Sexual Assault Kit Tracking System?

The tracking system provides sexual assault survivors with the ability to anonymously track the location of their Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) from the moment it is collected at the medical facility through the forensic analysis to final storage location.

For more information on Washington Sexual Assault Tracking System click here.

To view the Tracking System, click here.

What is an unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kit?

An unsubmitted sexual assault kit is a sexual assault kit that has not been submitted to a forensic laboratory for testing.

What is the Combined DNA Indexing System, or CODIS?

The Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, blends forensic science and computer technology into a tool for linking violent crimes. It enables federal, state, and local forensic laboratories to exchange and compare DNA profiles electronically, thereby linking serial violent crimes to each other and to known offenders. Using the National DNA Indexing System or CODIS, the National Missing Persons DNA Database also helps identify missing and unidentified individuals. For more information about CODIS Click here.

What is a partially tested Sexual Assault Kit?

A partially tested sexual assault kit is a sexual assault kit that has been previously submitted to a forensic laboratory, but was screened using serology (not DNA tested), or was tested using outdated DNA testing methods which cannot be uploaded into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).  For more information about CODIS, Click here.

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