The Ventura County Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (VCSAKI) is a countywide initiative to submit every untested sexual assault kit (SAK) for DNA testing and investigate unsolved sexual assault cases. In December 2021, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office, Forensic Services Bureau was awarded a $2.5 million grant from the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance to support this effort.

VCSAKI is multi-disciplinary in its approach, receiving support from the following law enforcement, medical, and social service organizations:

VCSAKI will accomplish the goals of this initiative utilizing a three-phase approach:

Phase 1 - Inventorying Sexual Assault Kits

In April 2022, all Ventura County law enforcement agencies and the Sheriff’s Forensic Services Bureau began the process of inventorying SAKs in their possession.  The inventory process includes locating police reports and other documentation associated with each SAK and documenting important information needed in the testing process.

Phase 2 - Testing sexual assault kits

During Phase 2, law enforcement will transport SAKs to the Sheriff’s Forensic Services Bureau for testing.  The Sheriff’s Forensic Services Bureau will utilize a combination of in-house testing along with outsourced testing from a private laboratory.  The testing process will continue until every SAK is tested.

Phase 3 - Investigation and prosecution

In Phase 3, the VCSAKI team will investigate unsolved sexual assault cases and prosecute offenders as allowed by law.  Phase 3 will operate concurrently with Phase 2, and will continue once all SAKs have been tested.

When SAK testing generates a potential suspect’s DNA profile, those profiles will be uploaded to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).  CODIS is a network of DNA profiles collected from evidence and samples obtained from individuals arrested for or convicted of qualifying crimes.  CODIS is able to link suspected offender DNA profiles obtained from a SAK to DNA profiles obtained from evidence in other cases or from qualifying individuals.  These “CODIS hits” obtained from SAK testing will be evaluated by the VCSAKI team, and additional investigation will be conducted according to the facts of each case.  In addition, the VCSAKI team will look to investigate other unsolved sexual assaults separate and apart from testing SAKs. 

In Phase 3, the VCSAKI team will aim to bring closure to victims of sexual assaults and provide these victims with the support and care they deserve.  For more information on the services available to victims of VCSAKI cases, please click here. VCSAKI is part of a national Sexual Assault Kit Initiative funded by the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).  Since 2015 BJA has funded sexual assault kit initiatives in over 80 jurisdictions.