The Ventura County Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (VCSAKI) is a countywide initiative to submit every unsubmitted sexual assault kit (SAK) for DNA testing, investigate unsolved sexual assault cases, and provide victim-centered communication and support.
It is a sexual assault kit that has not been submitted to a forensic laboratory for testing and analysis using CODIS-eligible DNA methodologies. This includes partially tested sexual assault kits. A partially tested sexual assault kit is a kit that has only been subjected to serological screening (for instance, blood-typing) or has previously been tested with non-CODIS-eligible DNA methodologies. Partially tested kits will be inventoried and tested as part of VCSAKI.
Put another way, an unsubmitted sexual assault kit has either: (1) never been submitted to a laboratory for testing; or (2) was submitted to a laboratory for testing but the testing performed was something other than modern DNA analysis that allows suspected offender profiles to be uploaded to CODIS. Sexual assault kits in the second category are typically older kits that pre-date modern DNA testing.
The answer to this question varies depending on the sexual assault kit in question. In many instances, the unsubmitted sexual assault kits that are now being tested were previously tested for blood-typing or the presence of sperm before DNA testing existed. In other instances, kits may not have been tested to avoid overburdening limited crime lab resources. In still others, a kit may not have been tested where the identity of the perpetrator was known to law enforcement. These are just some of the reasons that kits may not have been tested for the presence of offender DNA in the past.
Whatever the reason, in VCSAKI all sexual assault kits in existence at local law enforcement agencies or the Sheriff's Office, Forensic Services Bureau that can be tested will be tested for the presence of offender DNA.
Moving forward, all law enforcement agencies in Ventura County have committed to submit sexual assault kits to the Sheriff's Office, Forensic Services Bureau within 20 days of receipt as required by recent amendments to Penal Code section 680.
No. Over the years agencies have disposed of sexual assault kits just as they dispose of other stored evidence for a variety of reasons. That being said, many sexual assault kits are still stored in evidence rooms and will be tested as part of VCSAKI.
Victims wishing to determine the status of their sexual assault kit can contact the VCSAKI team at or (805)654-5053.
Moving forward, the VCSAKI team will work to develop countywide recommendations for law enforcement aimed at lengthening retention policies for sexual assault evidence.
Most VCSAKI sexual assault kits will be tested at a contracted private laboratory whose work will be supervised by the Ventura County Sheriff's Office, Forensic Services Bureau. Some VCSAKI sexual assault kits will be tested at the Forensic Services Bureau. Sexual assault kits will be tested continuously, as resources permit, until all that can be tested are tested.
VCSAKI is funded by a $2.5 million grant awarded in early 2022 by the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance's Sexual Assault Kit Initiative. That grant provided $906,500 toward testing sexual assault kits. That grant also funds a forensic scientist, prosecutor and district attorney investigator, all dedicated to VCSAKI. The grant additionally partially funds a victim advocate position in the District Attorney's Office, and provides free counseling for VCSAKI victims through the Coalition for Family Harmony.
No. In some cases, DNA testing does not result in a potential offender DNA profile being obtained from a sexual assault kit. The likelihood of obtaining a potential offender DNA profile depends on a variety of factors including the amount of DNA that an offender left behind during an assault.
In appropriate cases where an offender DNA profile is not obtained, VCSAKI investigators may employ additional methods in an attempt to identify perpetrators. These methods could include steps such as interviewing witnesses who were never spoken with or looking for similarities between cases.
A CODIS hit occurs when a suspected offender DNA profile obtained from a sexual assault kit matches to one or more DNA profiles within CODIS.
There are two general types of CODIS hits:
CODIS Offender Hit – where a DNA profile from a sexual assault kit was uploaded to CODIS and matched a DNA profile of an offender or arrestee in CODIS.
CODIS Case-to-Case Hit – where a DNA profile from a sexual assault kit was uploaded to CODIS and matched a DNA profile in CODIS obtained from evidence in another case. A case-to-case hit matches evidentiary profiles in two or more crimes, as opposed to matching to a specific individual. Therefore, these matches represent connections between cases and may not provide information which identifies a suspect.
For more information about CODIS, Click Here.
Survivors with questions can reach out to a member of the VCSAKI team at either or (805) 654-5053. For more information on this topic click here.
Click here to find out more about the Ventura County Family Justice Center and the resources available to all sexual assault victims, regardless of whether your crime was reported to law enforcement.
For media and general inquiries please contact:
Joey Buttitta
Communications Manager/PIO
Ventura County District Attorney’s Office
(805) 767-3400
Victims with questions, please contact:
(805) 654-5053