Discovery / podcast: Season 5
On Behalf of the People
Guest: Bob Ferguson on improving Washington state’s response to sexual assault through the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative and genetic genealogy.
Sexual assault affects many Washingtonians, but justice does not always come to survivors and their families. In many cases these violent felonies and sexually motivated offenses become cold cases.
As a participant in the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI), Washington’s Office of the Attorney General received multiple grants ꟷ totaling $5.5 million ꟷ from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to address the state’s rape kit backlog languishing in the evidence rooms of local agencies, law enforcement's need for trauma-informed training and assistance in identifying and contacting offenders who owe DNA samples as part of their sentence. In 2020, the Office worked with the DOJ to re-purpose nearly $300K to create sub-grants for forensic genetic genealogy testing through which cold cases constituting violent felonies and have been solved. The goal is to test every backlogged rape kit in the state by the end of 2022.
Washington's Attorney General Bob Ferguson serves the people and state of Washington as the 18th attorney general. He was first elected in 2012 and reelected in 2016 and 2020. Prior to serving as attorney general, Ferguson was a member of the King County Council. As the state's chief legal officer, he directs attorneys and professional staff in 27 divisions that provide legal services to more than 230 state agencies, boards and commissions.