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Wisconsin Department of Justice given $4 million to test rape kits

Wisconsin Department of Justice was awarded $4 million in grant funding today to test sexual assault forensic evidence kits.

“This money will go a long way to bring justice to survivors of sexual assault,” said Attorney General Schimel.  “We owe it to those who had the courage to report a sexual assault and underwent a sexual assault forensic exam, to now test their kits, investigate their cases, and hold their perpetrators accountable.  With these grants we will save others from becoming victims and we will make our communities safer.”

Sexual assault forensic evidence kits, also known as “sexual assault kits” or “rape kits”, are collections of evidence taken during a lengthy and invasive examination process by a trained professional.  DNA evidence collected as part of the examination is often a way for law enforcement to identify perpetrators.

Sexual Assault Response Team has prioritized the testing of kits in a manner that holds perpetrators accountable, while also being sensitive to the needs of victims, including those victims who are uncertain about whether they want to participate in the criminal justice system.

The $4 million in grant funding comes from two different grants.  The first grant, facilitated through the District Attorney of New York, will pay for the testing of kits that have not yet been tested.  The second grant, from the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance, will be directed towards the creation of a multidisciplinary team that will inventory and track kits; improve the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault case; and enhance services and notification to victims of sexual assault. 

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