Alaska to receive federal grant to process over 1000 untested sexual assault kits

Governor Bill Walker announced today that Alaska will be receiving $1.1 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice to process over 1,000 sexual assault kits currently in possession of Alaska State Troopers.

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“While we cannot solve these problems overnight, this grant will help us to make great strides in reducing the number of unprocessed sexual assault kits in Alaska,” Walker said. “These kits represent real people who are the victims of horrific crimes. We owe it to them, and all Alaskans, to end this pattern and ensure sexual assault kits are processed in a timely manner.”

(Chart courtesy of UAA Justice Center)
(Chart courtesy of UAA Justice Center)

The three-year grant will allow for the kits to be analyzed at a state crime lab as well as paying for cold case investigators and prosecuting attorneys to carry out cases that emerge from the findings.

The grant follows an inventory review that determined that there were more than 3,000 unprocessed kits across the state in possession of law enforcement.

“Alaska has some of the highest rates of sexual assault and domestic violence in the nation. We must end this terrible epidemic, and that starts by addressing the thousands of sexual assault kits in the possession of law enforcement,” Walker said. “We owe it to victims and their families to deliver justice to perpetrators and bring closure to these tragic experiences.”

Wesley Early covers municipal politics and Anchorage life for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at wearly@alaskapublic.org

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