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Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) GranteeMontana Department of Justice

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In FY2016, SAKI awarded the Montana Department of Justice (DOJ) a $2-million grant, which was used to inventory, track, and test sexual assault kits (SAKs). The department also used the grant to fund research into determining why SAKs were not tested, establish policies and procedures to prevent a future backlog, and designate a law enforcement training coordinator.

In FY2017, SAKI awarded the Montana DOJ more than $900,000 in additional funding that will extend through 2020. The additional funding will go toward hiring a training coordinator, victim advocate, and cold case investigator to support the Montana DOJ's SAKI efforts.

In FY2020, the Montana DOJ was awarded an additional $992,072 in SAKI funding to optimize evidence-based, victim-centered protocols; identify sexual assault response gaps; and implement sustainable policies for sexual assault cases. Grant funds also will be utilized to create and maintain a sexual assault response team to include the SAKI site coordinator, a research analyst, and two training coordinators.

In FY2023, SAKI awarded the Montana DOJ $2.125 million which will enable Montana DOJ to continue funding the current SAKI Task Force to facilitate project goals. The SAKI team will consist of a SAKI Site Coordinator, SAKI Cold Case Investigator, and SAKI Crime Analyst and provide overtime pay for Forensic Scientists assisting on the SAKI project. Funds support the Montana DOJ's phase III inventory plan to inventory and test pre-2001 sexual assault kits located at the Montana State Crime Lab, in addition to remaining untested and/or partially tested kits inventoried during the phase II inventory plan. Funds will also support resources to organize case reviews of SAKI cases as a result of a Combined DNA Index System hit, perform survivor notifications, and have a dedicated cold case SAKI Investigator to conduct investigations for subsequent prosecution. The SAKI team and Project Director will work closely with the SAKI Task Force and stakeholders to continue pushing for sustainable change to improve Montana's overall response to the crime of sexual assault, end the rape kit backlog, and increase the likelihood of successful prosecutions on sexual assault cases across the state of Montana.

Learn more about Montana's efforts at the Montana SAKI Project.

Montana Department of Justice Grantee Site Representatives

For more information on the specific SAKI awards for this site, see the table below.

Montana Department of Justice Funding

Year Amount Purpose Area
FY2016 $1,999,040 Comprehensive Approach to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits
FY2017 $917,740 Comprehensive Approach to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits
FY2020 $992,072 Comprehensive Approach to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits
FY2023 $2,125,000 Comprehensive Approach to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits

Please direct all media inquiries to:

To learn more about their progress, read below for other news and events out of Montana Department of Justice.

News and Events

Montana Department of Justice receives $2.1 million grant to continue efforts to address sexual assault
Montana Department of Justice, Char-Koosta News, Oct 12, 2023
“We will intensify our efforts in solving sexual assault cases and bringing justice to survivors with this new funding, bolstering our Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, employing specialized personnel to investigate crimes, and upgrading evidence storage around the state,” Attorney General Knudsen said. “Ensuring that perpetrators are held accountable and survivors can find healing is a top priority as we work to eliminate the rape kit backlog and reinforce our statewide strategy against sexual assault.”

Bill Seeks to Expand Sexual Assault Response Resources
Flathead Beacon, Jan 17, 2023
"The Montana House Judiciary Committee on Jan. 11 heard testimony on House Bill 79, a measure proposed by Rep. Amy Regier, R-Kalispell, which would bolster Montana’s sexual assault response network and would increase the availability of sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) training throughout the state."

Federal grant, legislation works to end sexual assault kit backlog in Montana
Marian Davidson, KTVH, Jul 1, 2021
“We have tested a total of 1,260 unsubmitted, untested kits,” Montana Department of Justice SAKI coordinator Kayla Bragg said. “Those kits range from 1995-2015.” There is still work to be done in Montana—the state has a SAKI grant through 2023. The federally-funded grant will help collect untested kits from 2016-2019, and any partially tested kits."

Cold Case: Woman’s remains identified in Missoula County after 36 years
MTN News, May 10, 2021
SAKI funds from the state of Montana used to identify previously unidentified remains found in 1985 as those of Janet Lucas thanks to advanced DNA testing.

Missoula police: DNA evidence closes 1974 cold case
Seaborn Larson, Missolulian, Oct 26, 2020
DNA technology has led law enforcement officers to a suspect in the February 1974 killing of a 5-year-old Missoula girl. "Undoubtedly, the last 46 years have been a difficult journey," White said. "We never gave up on Siobhan or finding justice for her. While we were unable to bring the suspect to justice for his crimes, we hope identifying the suspect will bring a small amount of closure to you and help you heal." - Police Chief Jaeson White

MT DOJ set to launch Sex Assault Kit Tracking System
MTN News, 8KPAX, Aug 30, 2019
Montana statewide evidence tracking system for sexual assault kits launches September 1, 2019.

Sex assault kit testing results in prosecution of 2015 Great Falls rape
Amy Beth Hanson, Helena independent Record, Aug 1, 2019
A convicted sex offender is the first man charged with rape under a Montana Department of Justice initiative to analyze about 1,200 previously untested sexual assault evidence kits held by local law enforcement agencies, the DOJ said Thursday.

Bullock signs bill to continue work of Montana sexual assault task force
Andrea Lutz, Q2 KTVQ, Apr 16, 2019
Gov. Steve Bullock signed a bill to continue the work of Montana's sexual assault task force including evidence tracking system and mandatory timeframes for SAK pick up and testing.

Montana moves to formalize laws governing sexual assault investigations
Melissa Loveridge, Great Falls Tribune, Dec 31, 2018
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox is urging state legislature to strengthen laws governing sexual assault in terms of testing and investigating kits as well as prosecuting resulting cases.

Initiative cuts down number of untested sexual assault kits
Marian Davidson, NBC Montana, Nov 21, 2018
Less than 70 previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits of the 1,252 inventoried in 2016, remain in Montana.

Montana DOJ Announces the Launch of a New Website and Hotline for Sexual Assault Survivors
Montana Department of Justice, Jun 19, 2018
The Montana DOJ launched a new website where survivors of sexual assault can locate resources and get updates about Montana's Sexual Assault Kit Initiative.

Montana: Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Task Force is making progress
Lindsey Ford, MTN News, Mar 21, 2018
The Montana Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Task Force is discussing ways to better help sexual assault survivors and address previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits.

Montana received a grant and new guidelines to process rape kits more effectively
Kaitlin Miller,, Oct 30, 2017
After receiving grant funding, Montana is revising their sexual assault kit by removing unnecessary items and simplifying the process of collecting evidence.

Montana receives $900K to continue Sexual Assault Kit Initiative
Jonathon Ambarian, MTN News, Oct 6, 2017
Montana received more than $900,000 in funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative. The money will be used to help fund a training coordinator, a victim advocate and a cold case investigator.

Montana will standardize collection, testing of sexual assault kits
Holly K Michels, Billings Gazette, Apr 3, 2017
The Montana Department of Justice is developing a tracking system for the estimated 1,400 untested rape kits that have been stored in evidence rooms around the state. The state plans to enter all rape kits into the system and continue to add them going forward. The state will evaluate why testing of these kits did not occur in the first place. The department is also hiring a victim advocate to begin outreach efforts to those who have untested kits. Read the full story to learn about Montana's testing and training plans.

First batch of untested rape kits from around the state could be tested mid-2017
Holly Michels, Billings Gazette, Nov 20, 2016
Montana expects to submit a batch of 1,400 untested sexual assault kit for testing as early as spring 2017. A unique challenge in Montana, as well as other states with American Indian tribal reservations, is involving the tribes in the SAK testing and submission process. To learn more about Montana’s efforts, read the full article.

Justice for survivors of sexual assault in Montana
Tim Fox, Independent Record, Oct 11, 2016
Montana has received nearly $3 million in federal funding to inventory and submit backlogged for processing. Currently, there are approximately 1,400 SAKS stored in Montana law enforcement evidence lockers dating back to 1995. The grant will allow law enforcement to test all SAKs and develop a tracking system so victims and agencies can follow the inventorying, testing, and investigation process. To learn more about the work being done to combat sexual assault in Montana, read the full article.

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Our Mission

Funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative aims to create a coordinated community response that ensures just resolution to sexual assault cases. Through this program, funding is provided to support multidisciplinary community response teams engaged in the comprehensive reform of jurisdictions approaches to sexual assault cases resulting from evidence found in previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits.

This Web site is funded in whole or in part through a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Neither the U.S. Department of Justice nor any of its components operate, control, are responsible for, or necessarily endorse, this Web site (including, without limitation, its content, technical infrastructure, and policies, and any services or tools provided).

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