New website designed to support sex assault victims, keep tabs on kit testing

The effort continues to clear out the state’s backlog of untested rape kits.

A new website launched Friday offers resources and support for victims of sexual assault, including information on how to track a kit as it goes through testing for DNA evidence.

Project Malama Kakou was created as a result of Act 207 (2016), which brought together a statewide multidisciplinary team of victim service providers, crime lab personnel, police officials, and prosecutors to comprehensively reform the testing of sexual assault kits in Hawaii in a caring and victim-centered manner.

The website includes a description of Project Malama Kakou, a list of Sexual Assault Kit Initiative team members, frequently asked questions, information on survivor notification and services, and a dashboard reflecting the number of kits submitted for testing.

Survivors will have the option of calling their local police department or going to the website to begin the process of determining the status of their kits. Survivors may also be connected with support services by contacting a local service provider listed on the website.

“The Hawaii SAKI website is an important first step to help survivors understand what happened to their sexual assault kit and the process now being used to test these kits,” said Rep. Linda Ichiyama, a member of the Women’s Legislative Caucus.

“Connecting survivors with support services through Project Malama Kakou is critical to empowering them and fulfilling the commitment to a victim-centered approach to the testing of sexual assault kits in Hawaii,” said Attorney General Doug Chin.

As of June 2017, 542 kits have been submitted for testing: 365 kits for Oahu, 49 kits for Kauai County, 78 kits for Maui County, and 50 kits for Hawaii island.

The state says it’s on track to clear the backlog by the July 1, 2018 deadline set by the legislature.

Click here to access Project Malama Kakou’s website.

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