ATG NEWS RELEASE: Progress made regarding untested sexual assault kits in Hawaii as counties complete inventory and state gets $2 million grant

Posted on Sep 29, 2016 in Latest News

HONOLULU – Attorney General Doug Chin announced today that the Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii county police departments successfully inventoried their untested sexual assault evidence collection kits and that the state of Hawaii had received a $2 million grant to assist with testing these kits.

Act 207 (H.B. 1907), passed this year by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Ige, requires all law enforcement agencies and departments charged with the maintenance, storage, and preservation of sexual assault evidence collection kits to conduct an inventory of all such kits being stored by the agency or department.

As part of the state’s effort to determine how sexual assault kits are used, tracked, and tested by the police, the reports shed light on the level of testing conducted. A working group convened by the Department of the Attorney General in accordance with Act 207 is using this information to better understand the issues that resulted in some kits being untested, and to ensure that all kits that should be tested are tested. The Honolulu Police Department, which has the largest inventory to conduct of all four counties, is expected to complete its inventory soon.

The Department of the Attorney General was awarded a competitive grant this week which should assist with those efforts. The $2 million National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) grant was awarded to the Department of the Attorney General by the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Attorney General Chin said, “This $2 million grant from the United States Department of Justice will provide real support to the efforts already underway by police, prosecutors, and victim-assistance groups.  It will provide the State with resources to assist the police departments with testing sexual assault kits, assist with victim notification and services, and continue the multidisciplinary community response team that is currently engaged in the comprehensive reform of managing, tracking, and testing sexual assault evidence collection kits.”

The Kauai and Hawaii Police Departments began using sexual assault evidence collection kits in 2001. The Maui Police Department began using them in 1999. As a result, the three police reports released today include an inventory of untested kits beginning in 2001 for Kauai and Hawaii and beginning in 1999 for Maui. These inventories extend through the period ending June 30, 2016.

The police departments’ efforts to provide greater transparency are reflected in the fact that the reports include information beyond what is requested in Act 207. Act 207 required an inventory of: (1) the number of untested sexual assault evidence collection kits in the possession of the agency or department; and (2) the date the sexual assault evidence collection kit was collected.

All three reports being provided today include the total number of sexual assault kits, total number of sexual assault kits tested, total number of untested kits, the date the kits were submitted into evidence, the date the kits were submitted for testing, and the date testing of the kits was completed. For the purpose of Act 207, the column titled “date kit submitted into evidence” is the date the kit was collected. The Kauai and Hawaii Police Department reports also include the date the case was reported. The reports from the three police departments are attached to this news release, but a summary of the reports is as follows:

Kauai Police Department

Total No. of Kits = 225

Total No. of Kits Tested = 74

Total No. of Untested Kits = 151

Hawaii Police Department

Total No. of Kits = 369

Total No. of Kits Tested = 60

Total No. of Untested Kits = 309

Maui Police Department

Total No. of Kits = 166

Total No. of Kits Tested =16

Total No. of Untested Kits = 152

The Department of the Attorney General will submit a final report to the Legislature on this matter in December, as required by Act 207. That report will have information from all four county police departments and it will include additional context and analysis.

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For more information, contact:

 

Joshua A. Wisch

Special Assistant to the Attorney General

(808) 586-1284

Joshua.A.Wisch@hawaii.gov

http://ag.hawaii.gov