How many kits were collected?
Through the SAKI program, Montana collected and inventoried 1260 sexual assault kits from ranging from 1995-2015.
Why were some kits not sent for testing?
There are several reasons why kits were not tested. Over time, these kits developed into the backlog. Through SAKI, the backlog has been eliminated.
- Reason kits were not tested includes but is not limited to the following:
- The accused person pled guilty without kit evidence
- A kit was not needed to prove the case
- Investigation did not result in charges
- Prosecution was declined
- Lack of knowledge and training on the benefits of testing kit evidence
- Where were backlogged kits sent for testing?
Where were backlogged kits sent for testing?
The majority of kits were outsourced to the private lab Sorenson. However, the FBI and Montana State Crime lab also directly received kits for testing. Kits tested by Sorenson were then sent to Marshall University for review. After the kits were reviewed by Marshall University, the Montana State Crime lab conducted a final validation.
What efforts are in place to prevent a backlog of untested sexual assault kits?
There are several strategies to prevent a future backlog of untested sexual assault kits. Strategies include statewide collaboration, training, legislation, and kit tracking. Statewide collaboration among community and criminal justice agencies is extremely beneficial to identify challenges and solutions. SAKI is providing training regarding the benefits of kit testing and best practices when responding to the crime of sexual assault.
Legislation is another important factor in preventing backlogged kits. In October 2019, the Montana legislature passed Senate Bill 52. Senate Bill 52 created uniform sexual assault kit testing policies and procedures. To read Senate Bill 52, please visit Senate Bill 52. In addition, please review the Montana Code Annotated at https://leg.mt.gov/bills/mca/title_0460/chapter_0150/part_0040/section_0040/0460-0150-0040-0040.html
Furthermore, Montana implemented the Sexual Assault Kit Tracking System in September 2019. The tracking system is also included in Senate Bill 52. This system was created and developed for survivors to anonymously track his or her sexual assault kits.