Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI)

Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit box

The Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School at Case Western Reserve University is partnering with the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force on an action research project to examine untested sexual assault kits (SAKs) in Cuyahoga County.  The Task Force is currently following up via investigation and prosecution on the DNA testing of nearly 5,000 previously untested kits from 1993 through 2009. View an overview of the project.

Research Team: Daniel J. Flannery (Principal Investigator), Laura T. Overman

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Publications and Media



Lovell R.E., Singer M.E., Flannery D.J., McGuire M.J. (2021)“The Case for ‘Investigate All’: Assessing the Cost-Effectiveness of Investigating No CODIS Hit Cases in a Sexual Assault Kit Initiative.”Journal of Forensic Sciences.

Luminais, Misty, Cyleste Collins, and Rachel E. Lovell. (2021).Speaking the Previously Unspeakable: How the Codification of Spousal Rape into Law Affects How Intimate Partner Sexual Assaults are Reported. In Conceptualizing Sexual Violence in Marriage: Research and Policy by Torres, M. Gabriela and Kersti Yllö. (Eds.)

Lovell, R., Overman, L., Huang, D., and Flannery, D. (2020, Sep 25). The Bureaucratic Burden of Identifying your Rapist and Remaining “Cooperative”: What the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Tells us about Sexual Assault Case Attrition and Outcomes. American Journal of Criminal Justice.

Lovell, R.E., Williamson, A., Dover, T.J., Keel, T.G., and Flannery, D.J. (2020, May). Identifying Serial Sexual Offenders Through Cold Cases. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin.

Lovell, R., Huang, W., Overman, L., Flannery, D.J. and Klingenstein, J. (2020). Offending Histories and Typologies of Suspected Sexual Offenders Identified via Untested Sexual Assault Kits. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 47(4):470-486. DOI: 10.1177/0093854819896385

In the Media



Lovell, Rachel, Liuhong Yang, and Joanna Klingenstein. (2019). Testing Sexual Assault Kits Saves Money and Prevents Sexual Assaults. Special Issue: Translating Research to Policy: Improving Justice for Women and Girls, Translational Criminology, Winter.

Lovell, R., Collins, C., McGuire, M., Overman, L., Luminais, M., and Flannery, D. (2019). Understanding Intimate Partner Sexual Assaults: Findings from Sexual Assault Kits. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, & Trauma. 28(1):2-7. DOI: 10.1080/10926771.2018.1494234.

Lovell, R., Luminais, M., Flannery, D.J., Bell, R., Kyker, B. (2018). Describing the process and quantifying the outcomes of the Cuyahoga County sexual assault kit initiative. Journal of Criminal Justice (57), pp 106-115.

Lovell, R., Flannery, D., & Luminais, M. (2018).  Lessons learned:  Serial sex offenders identified from backlogged sexual assault kits (SAKs).  In Vazsonyi, A., Flannery, D., & DeLisi, M. (Eds.). The Cambridge Handbook of Violent Behavior and Aggression (2nd ed.).  New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Lovell, R., Singer, Mendel, Flannery, D., and Luminais, M. (2018, March 29). Testing Unsubmitted Rape Kits Saves Money. End the Backlog Blog.

Clark, D. and Lovell, R. (2018) Collaborative Partnerships and the DNA Testing of Unsubmitted SAKs. The Police Chief (Official Publication of the International Association of Chiefs of Police).

In the Media



Lovell, R., Luminais, M., Flannery, D.J., Overman, L., Huang, D., Walker, T., Clark, D.R. (2017). Offending patterns for serial sex offenders identified via the DNA testing of previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits. Journal of Criminal Justice, 52, 68-78. doi:10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2017.08.002

Lovell, R., & Flannery, D. (2016, November). Testing of backlogged rape evidence leads to hundreds of convictions. The Conversation.

In the Media