Year of Publication



Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Date Available


Executive Summary

Across the nation, states are facing a large backlog of sexual assault evidence kits. Sexual assault evidence often sits in a police department or hospital for years without being tested. Public safety is diminished as criminal DNA is not tested and entered into CODIS. Victims have no sense of justice, and may lose confidence in the system. Without attention to the issue, the backlog will only continue to grow. As states have developed innovative and effective methods for addressing the backlog, their successes and failures have served as a base for others who are considering changes to avoid future backlogs. This study examined the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence (SAFE) kit procedures in Kentucky and established four primary areas of concern: Funding, procedures, victim notification, and collaboration. States from across the nation were analyzed on one or more of these fronts to determine the best practices foraddressing the backlog of SAFE kits. While other states have made significant strides toward the elimination of the current backlog and the prevention of future backlogs, six states were analyzed in-depth: California, Texas, Utah, Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois. Based on the analysis of practices in these states, this paper provides suggestions as to the next steps for Kentucky policy makers and stakeholders in improving the state’s SAFE Kit tracking and testing structure.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.