Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI)
The Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) of the Virginia Office of the Attorney General (OAG), in partnership with the Virginia Department of Forensic Science (DFS) and the Virginia Department of State Police (VSP), has secured over $7 million in grant funds. The goal of SAKI is to enhance awareness regarding the importance of testing all sexual assault kits, build the capacity for trauma-informed responses to sexual crimes through multidisciplinary collaboration, and solve cold case sexual assaults and sexually motivated homicides.
Through the SAKI grants, Virginia has achieved significant progress in addressing sexual assault cases. The grants have allowed Virginia to accomplish the following:
- Establish and sustain a robust statewide multidisciplinary team since 2016, promoting collaboration among professionals from various fields involved in sexual assault cases.
- Develop, implement, and maintain a comprehensive statewide sexual assault kit (known as Physical Evidence Recovery Kit or PERK in Virginia) tracking system in 2019, enhancing efficiency and coordination among survivors, forensic nurses, victim advocates, law enforcement agencies, and crime labs.
- Eliminate the backlog of unsubmitted PERKs in 2020 and ensure that all PERKs are processed moving forward.
- Implement a cold case victim notification protocol and offer advocacy and support to victims and families, ensuring that those affected by cold case sexual assaults receive the necessary assistance and care.
- Provide ongoing training and technical assistance throughout the Commonwealth to law enforcement, prosecutors, and community partners who engage with sexual assault victims. This training enhances their skills and knowledge in trauma-informed support for survivors.
- Conduct thorough investigations and analysis of cold case sexual assaults and sexually motivated homicides, aiming to bring justice to the victims and their families.
- Utilize advanced DNA testing and forensic genetic genealogy techniques to identify perpetrators and resolve previously unsolved cases.
By undertaking these initiatives, Virginia has made significant strides in improving its response to sexual assault, enhancing victim support services, and holding offenders accountable.
Virginia State Police Fusion Center
Virginia Department of Forensic Science
Physical Evidence Recovery Kit (PERK) Tracking System Victim Portal:
Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance (24/7 assistance available)
Helpline (24/7 assistance available)
- Website: https://vsdvalliance.org/get-help-ayuda
- Phone: 1-800-838-8238
- Text: (804) 793-9999
- Mail: Action Alliance
P.O. Box 17115, Richmond, VA 23226
- Phone: 1-866-356-6998
Confidential PREA Reporting Hotline
- Phone: 1-855-602-7001 (follow prompts)
Virginia Victims Fund
Latinos en Virginia Empowerment Center
Virginia Legal Aid Society
Virginia Lawyer Referral Service
Virginia Victim Assistance Directory
- Website: Virginia Victim Assistance Directory
Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN)
1 in 6 for Sexually Abused or Assaulted Men
Department of Defense (DoD) Sexual Assault Helpline:
- Website: https://www.survivorunited.org
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
The Trevor Lifeline (for young LGBTQ+ people):
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline:
Physical Evidence Recovery Kit (PERK) Legislation
Physical Evidence Recovery Kit (PERK) Legislation
On July 1, 2016, comprehensive legislation was implemented, mandating the submission of all Physical Evidence Recovery Kits (PERKs) to the Department of Forensic Science for analysis within 60 days, unless a statutory exemption applies. This legislation aimed to ensure timely processing of PERKs and streamline the forensic analysis process. Additionally, the legislation addressed the retention of PERKs and introduced provisions to protect victims' rights concerning information about the PERK collected in their cases. To further enhance the tracking and management of PERKs, mandatory use of the PERK Tracking System was later implemented, effective July 1, 2020. This system was designed to provide a centralized and standardized approach to monitor the status and progress of PERKs, promoting efficiency and accountability within the forensic analysis and investigation process.
- Anonymous PERKs (Code of Virginia § 19.2-11.6)
- Law enforcement taking possession of PERKs (Code of Virginia § 19.2-11.7)
- Submission of PERKs to the Department (Code of Virginia § 19.2-11.8)
- Lack of Compliance with procedures (Code of Virginia § 19.2-11.9)
- Expungement of DNA profile (Code of Virginia § 19.2-11.10)
- Victims’ right to notification of scientific analysis information (Code of Virginia § 19.2-11.11)
- Cost of PERKs (Code of Virginia § 19.2-11.12)
- PERK Tracking System (Code of Virginia § 19.2-11.13)
PERK Submission FAQ for Law Enforcement
Is the PERK required to be submitted for testing if the suspect is known?
- Yes. Whether or not the suspect is known, the PERK must be submitted for analysis. A known suspect is not a statutory exemption for PERK submission and further questions should be directed to the Commonwealth Attorney or the legal advisor to the law enforcement agency investigating the case.
Is the PERK required to be submitted for testing if the victim is no longer cooperating with the investigation?
- Yes. Regardless of victim cooperation, the PERK must be submitted for analysis. Victim disengagement is not a statutory exemption for PERK submission and further questions should be directed to the Commonwealth Attorney or the legal advisor to the law enforcement agency investigating the case.
Is the PERK required to be submitted for testing if prosecution is declined?
- Yes. Regardless of prosecution status, the PERK must be submitted for analysis. Prosecution being declined is not a statutory exemption for PERK submission and further questions should be directed to the Commonwealth Attorney or the legal advisor to the law enforcement agency investigating the case.
Summary of Exceptions:
Virginia State Law (Code of Virginia § 19.2-11.8) requires all PERKs received by law enforcement agencies be submitted to the Department of Forensic Science (DFS) within 60 days of receipt unless certain exceptions are met:
- The PERK is anonymous.
- In this case, law enforcement would not know about the PERK.
- The PERK is part of a routine death investigation, and the medical examiner and law enforcement agree that analysis is unwarranted.
- The PERK is connected to an out-of-state offense.
- In this case, the out of state agency is not covered by Virginia state laws.
- Investigation associated with the PERK is being transferred to another law enforcement agency within Virginia.
- In this case, the receiving agency would be subject to this statute and the 60-day time constraint starts upon receipt of the PERK by the investigating agency.
- The PERK was determined by the law enforcement agency not to be connected to a criminal offense.
- In this case, there is a PROVEN FALSE REPORT.
- This exception does not apply to victim disengagement from the criminal justice process or prosecution declined by the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office. In these cases, the PERK will still be submitted to DFS for analysis.
These statutes became effective July 1, 2022 and the majority of PERKs must be submitted to DFS for analysis. If there are any questions regarding exceptions, please contact your Commonwealth Attorney’s Office or the legal advisor for your agency.
PERK Tracking System
The victim portal of the PERK tracking system offers survivors access to view the location and testing status of the PERK collected in their case. It's important to note that the tracking system does not contain any identifying information or analysis results. If you require assistance with accessing the system, please don't hesitate to contact the PERK Tracking System Coordinator at 804-588-4050 or
Physical Evidence Recovery Kit (PERK) Tracking System
The PERK tracking system is a web-based system used in Virginia to track the location and status of PERKs belonging to victims and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME). It requires the participation of collection sites, law enforcement agencies, the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS), and the Department of Forensic Science (DFS). Use of the PERK tracking system has been mandatory since 2020. However, it's important to note that the system does not serve as an official chain of custody for any PERKs. For training, access, or assistance with troubleshooting related to the PERK tracking system, you can contact 804-588-4050 or
Trauma Informed Sexual Assault Investigations
Presented by the Virginia Office of the Attorney General
Trauma-Informed Sexual Assault Investigations is a free training provided by the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) team at the Virginia Office of the Attorney General. This training is based on the curriculum developed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and is approved by the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) for Partial In-service Credits (PIC) for law enforcement.
The SAKI team facilitates this training for law enforcement, Commonwealth’s attorneys, victim advocates, forensic nurses, social workers, Title IX, dispatchers, emergency services, and other allied professionals. This training is customizable from a partial four-hour session, a partial one-day session, or the full two-day course. The SAKI team can travel throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia to train your agency or jurisdiction.
The Trauma-Informed Sexual Assault Investigations training promotes best practices for responding to and investigating crimes of trauma, primarily sexual assault. The training centers on trauma-informed, victim-centered, and offender-focused multidisciplinary response, and employs nationally recognized and research-supported methods.
If you're interested in hosting or attending a training in your area, contact
|February 21-22, 2024
|Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy
|March 19-20, 2024
|Eastern Shore Regional Fire Training Center
|April 29-30, 2024
|Chesterfield Police Department
|May 14-15, 2024
|Northern VA Criminal Justice Academy
|June 12-13, 2024
|Williamsburg Police Department
|July 16-17, 2024
|American Civil War Museum at Appomattox
|August 13-14, 2024
|Cardinal Criminal Justice Academy
|September 10, 2024
|Madison Va Volunteer Fire Hall
|September 17, 2024
|Madison Va Volunteer Fire Hall
|October 30-31, 2024
|Kenbridge Emergency Squad Building
|Weyers Cave, VA
|November 13-14, 2024
|Central Shenandoah Criminal Justice Training Academy
For more information, please contact
This project was supported by Grant No. 2020–AK-BX-0033 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the SMART Office. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.