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State launches website to help sexual assault survivors

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    State officials say the Hawaii SAKI website is designed to support sexual assault survivors as authorities test hundreds of backlogged rape kits for DNA evidence.

The state launched a website today to help survivors of sexual assault find out the status of forensic evidence kits collected after their attacks, which may have gone untested for years.

Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin and the Hawaii Sexual Assault Kit Initiative team held a news conference to announce the website, designed to support survivors as authorities work to test hundreds of backlogged kits for DNA evidence.

“The Hawaii SAKI website is an important first step to help survivors understand what happened to their sexual assault kit and the process now being used to test those kits,” said state Rep. Linda Ichiyama (D, Salt Lake-Moanalua Valley). “As the Women’s Legislative Caucus continues to work on this issue, I hope that survivors will visit the website and use the information to learn the status of their sexual assault kit.”

Sexual assault evidence kits, also known as “rape kits,” collect and preserve forensic evidence of sexual assault. They contain swabs of bodily fluid, hair samples and other potential DNA evidence.

The SAKI team recently set priorities for testing the backlog of 1,951 kits statewide. As of June, 542 have been submitted for testing, Chin said. If testing results in “a new actionable development” in a case, law enforcement will contact the survivor, he said.

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