The Sexual Assault Kit Initiative administered by BJA differs substantially from NIJ’s DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction program. BJA’s program is focused on SAKs housed in law enforcement storage rooms, or other facilities, that have never been submitted to a crime lab for testing. While the BJA program does include testing of SAKs, it also aims to address why SAKs continue to remain unsubmitted for testing, and help jurisdictions implement new policies and procedures to prevent this from occurring again. Since the critical needs around unsubmitted SAKs in law enforcement agencies extend well beyond simply testing kits and increasing crime lab capacity, the BJA program also addresses the investigative and prosecutorial aspects of sexual assault cases resulting from the testing and enhancing provision of victim’s services. The NIJ program does not provide funding for these activities. NIJ does fund states and units of local government with existing crime laboratories that conduct DNA analysis to process, record, screen, and analyze forensic DNA and/or DNA database samples, and to increase the capacity of public forensic laboratories to process more DNA samples. While many jurisdictions use the funding from the NIJ program to test sexual assault evidence, NIJ’s initiative focuses on all types of DNA evidence, which can include SAKs that have already been submitted to crime labs. The NIJ program does not address systems, evidence collection, storage, police, prosecution and laboratory practices and policies that contributed to the failure to submit SAKs from being tested.
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