In 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, awarded the City of Akron a nearly $1 million grant to fund a 3-year Sexual Assault Kit Initiative and put together a multidisciplinary team to investigate and prosecute cold case sexual assaults. Part of that funding was set aside for a victim advocate, and because of our organization’s expertise, an advocate from our staff was chosen.
Sam, the victim advocate, helped put together various elements of the protocol associated with these cases. She assists the Akron Sexual Assault Kit (ASAKI) detectives with notifying victims when their ‘kits’ receive a DNA hit and she provides immediate crisis intervention during that difficult time. She supports them during the interview, where they recount their experiences and trauma. She helps ensure that there are no barriers to services and that the victims are connected with local resources and long-term care options.
Sam is attending the 4
th Annual National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Grantees Meeting in Arlington, Virginia this month, where she will network with other SAKI grant recipients and learn about effective and sustainable practices on a variety of topics.