Hawaii Sexual Assault Response and Training (HSART) Program

What is the status of my Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit?

HSART Program Summary

Sexual assault survivors should be afforded quality comprehensive coordinated community response among the police, prosecutors, medical professionals, and sexual assault treatment providers regardless of who they are and where they reside in the State of Hawaii. It is critical that Hawaii’s sexual assault responders work collaboratively and in a coordinated manner, following evidence-based standards, leveraging limited resources, and basing decisions, policies, and practices on reliable information and validated data. Working in coordination and collaboration means within a statewide multi-disciplinary team, a county-based sexual assault response team, and within each respective discipline across the state. A survivor’s ability to recover from sexual assault and to report the crime to police is enhanced when provided quality comprehensive coordinated community response.

Our mission is also guided by a victim-centered and trauma-informed approach, where the victim is at the center of decisions regarding recovery and any involvement with the criminal justice system. The victim’s choice, safety, and well-being are the focus, and the needs of the victim are a concern for everyone - not just the victim advocates. To be trauma-informed means that we recognize the victim has been subjected to an extremely traumatic event and that our response will strive to address the physical, psychological, and emotional safety needs of the victim.

The Hawaii Sexual Assault Response and Training (HSART) initiative began in 1998. HSART was led by The Sex Abuse Treatment Center (SATC) and included members from the Honolulu, Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai Police Departments; Departments/Offices of the Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii County, Maui County, and Kauai County; YWCA of Hawaii Island, Sexual Assault Support Services; Child and Family Service, Maui Sexual Assault Center; YWCA of Kauai, Sexual Abuse Treatment Program; a sexual assault forensic/nurse examiner (SAFE/SANE) from each county; and the Honolulu Police Department, Scientific Investigation Section.

The purpose of HSART was to promote and support the availability of responsive, effective, and forensically-sound service provision to all sexual assault victims across the State of Hawaii. The statewide platform of HSART enabled county police, prosecutors, forensic examiners, and sexual assault advocates to convene to identify areas of need and work collaboratively on system resolution. In 2000, HSART established the statewide guidelines for forensic medical examinations that included the sexual assault collection kit. HSART ended in 2014 after federal funds were exhausted.

The Attorney General submitted requests to the 2014 and 2015 Legislature to secure funding for HSART but was not successful. During the 2016 legislative session, there was concern that sexual assault evidence collection kits in Hawaii were not being tested. Act 207 (SLH 2016) was passed which required all police departments to conduct an inventory of sexual assault kits and report to the Attorney General. A Report to the Hawaii State Legislature on Untested Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kits Retained by County Police Departments, Plans and Procedures for the Disposition of Currently Untested Kits, and Related Information (December 2016) was published in December 2016.

In 2018, Act 113 was passed, and a new section, Hawaii Revised Statutes 844G-2 established the Hawaii Sexual Assault Response and Training program within the Department of the Attorney General.

The primary members of HSART, by discipline and role, are the: police, prosecuting attorneys, sexual assault treatment service providers, sexual assault forensic/nurse examiners, and the police crime lab director.

The primary roles of the police are to ensure that victims are offered and provided free forensic examinations regardless if a police report is made and that victims are not discredited or negatively judged when sexual assault reports are made. The police are to work collaboratively with sexual assault crisis counselors and sexual assault forensic/nurse examiners to address the victims’ health care needs and to collect evidence suitable for possible use by the criminal justice system.

The primary roles of the prosecuting attorneys are to represent the jurisdiction in all criminal proceedings. Prosecutors advise and approve charging decisions, offer insight to police to advance the case, collaborate with experts about evidence, and present evidence to a jury. Prosecutors request victims' input before making any key decisions (e.g., plea offers) and work closely with advocates and other multi-disciplinary professionals to support victims throughout the case. For source and additional information, click here: Advocacy Meets Prosecution

The primary roles of the sexual assault treatment service providers are to ensure that appropriate and victim-centered notification and services and response to trauma are developed and implemented and statewide protocols for medical-legal services are sustained.

The primary roles of the sexual assault forensic/nurse examiners (SAFE/SANE) are to ensure that physical evidence is collected and preserved following an allegation or suspicion of sexual assault and to address medical concerns resultant from the sexual assault.

The primary roles of the police crime lab director are to ensure that sexual assault kits (SAKs) are tested within the time frames provided in Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 844-G, communicate with police agencies to ensure the timely submission of sexual assault evidence including SAKs, and act as the CODIS administrator for the proper submission of DNA profiles into the CODIS system and immediate notification of results.

The primary members are assisted by a deputy attorney general to assist in the creation of a statewide SAK tracking system.

HSART will consist of decision makers from the sexual assault response systems from all four counties and will be led by a representative from the Attorney General. Members include:

  • Department of the Attorney General - Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance Division
  • Honolulu Police Department
  • Hawaii Police Department
  • Maui Police Department
  • Kauai Police Department
  • Department of the Prosecuting Attorney, City and County of Honolulu
  • Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, Hawaii County
  • Department of the Prosecuting Attorney, Maui County
  • Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, Kauai County
  • Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children, The Sex Abuse Treatment Center
  • YWCA of Hawaii Island, Sexual Assault Support Services
  • Child and Family Service, Maui Sexual Assault Center
  • YWCA of Kauai, Sexual Assault Treatment Program
  • Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SAFE) and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE)

Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)

This Hawaii Coalition Against Sexual Assault (HCASA) film highlights the work of sexual assault response teams (SARTs) across the state.

 

 

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CODIS
The FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) is a software platform that blends forensic science and computer technology. CODIS has multiple levels at which DNA profiles can be stored and searched: the local level (for city and county DNA laboratories), the state level, and the national level. Data stored at the national level are found in the National DNA Index System (NDIS). It is at this level that a DNA profile from a crime scene sample (also known as a forensic unknown) can be searched against offender profiles across the nation to solve cases between states.

Evidence-Based
As defined in the Oxford University Press Dictionary, evidence-based is an approach that emphasizes the practical application of the findings of the best available current research.

Forensic Medical Examination
An examination provided to a victim of a suspected sexual assault by a healthcare professional to: 1) address medical concerns resultant from the sexual assault, and 2) collect and preserve evidence that may be used in a police investigation and any subsequent prosecution.

Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) or Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)
Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SAFE) are physicians who have completed specialized education and clinical preparation in the medical forensic care of the patient who has experienced sexual assault or abuse.

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) are registered nurses who have completed specialized education and clinical preparation in the medical forensic care of the patient who has experienced sexual assault or abuse.

Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit (SAK)
Often called a “rape kit” or “sex assault kit,” a sexual assault evidence collection kit is a box that contains all the necessary materials to collect evidence during the forensic medical examination. Each SAK has a unique identifying barcode number and the victim will receive that number at the conclusion of the examination.

Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)
A multi-disciplinary team of professionals working collaboratively to organize their service delivery to meet the needs of sexual assault victims, enhance evidence collection, and investigate and prosecute sexual crimes.  Hawaii’s SART members may be found on the “Who We Are and What We Do” page.

Unreported Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kits
Unreported sexual assault evidence collection kits are collected in the same way as all sexual assault kits, but the victim has chosen not to report the sexual assault crime to law enforcement. Unreported SAKs will not be tested unless the victim chooses to report to police.

Victim-Centered Approach
“Victim-centered” means that the victim is at the center of decisions regarding recovery and any involvement with the criminal justice system. The victim’s choice, safety, and well-being are the focus, and the needs of the victim are a concern for everyone - not just the victim advocates.

What should I do if I’ve been sexually assaulted?

  • Call 911 or go to an emergency room if you’ve been injured and need medical help or if you feel unsafe.
  • If it’s not an immediate emergency, then you may contact a confidential service provider, or your local police department
  • Take measures to protect evidence of the crime:
    • Save the clothes that were worn at the time of the assault.
    • Try not to bathe, eat, drink, smoke, brush your teeth, rinse, or use the bathroom, if possible.
    • Try not to “clean up” or touch anything at the place where the assault occurred.
  • It is your decision to have a forensic exam.  If you choose to have one:
    • Bring an extra clothes you’re comfortable wearing or have someone bring them for you. You may have to turn over your clothes as evidence.
    • Advocates are available to help you through the process.
    • Specially trained nurses and doctors will be performing the exam.

Who can I talk to confidentially that can help me?
Every county maintains a confidential 24-hour hotline for survivors of sexual assault.  Survivors are encouraged to contact the hotlines at any time for support, care and advocacy. 

Oahu
Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children, The Sex Abuse Treatment Center
808-524-7273 (24-hour hotline) 

Kauai
YWCA of Kauai, Sexual Abuse Treatment Program
808-245-4144 (24-hour hotline) 

Maui
Child and Family Service, Maui Sexual Assault Center
808-873-8624 (24-hour hotline) 

Hawaii Island
YWCA of Hawaii Island, Sexual Assault Support Services
808-935-0677 (24-hour hotline) 

Is there a link between alcohol and drugs and sexual assault?
Sexual violence victimization is associated with multiple negative health behaviors, including substance abuse, physical inactivity, binge drinking, suicidal thoughts, and smoking (Watson-Johnson, Townsend, Basile & Richardson, 2012).

At least half of all acquaintance sexual assaults involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrator, the victim, or most commonly, both. Alcohol consumption can raise the risk of sexual assault through both physiological and learned, or expectancy, effects. Alcohol 'myopia' can focus attention on prominent social cues rather than ambiguous risk cues. Without the alarm that would arise from recognizing risk, a woman might not experience the anxiety or fear that would motivate her to leave a situation. So too because of intoxication she might experience a variety of psychological barriers that impede assertive resistance. Expectancies about alcohol effects might indirectly raise the risk of sexual assault through motivating a woman to drink excessively in order to experience anticipated beneficial effects of drinking or by increasing her belief that alcohol makes her more sexually vulnerable and therefore less able to resist.

However, choosing to violate another person is not about “drinking too much,”  “trying to have a good time,” or “getting carried away,” nor is it about the clothes someone was wearing, how they were acting, or what type of relationship they have with the person who abused them. Violating another person is a choice the offender alone makes and alcohol-involved sexual assault is a crime and blame needs to be placed squarely on those who perpetrate it.

What do I do if I think I’ve been drugged?
How will I know if I’ve been drugged?
Depending on the substance, the initial effects of a drug can go unnoticed or become apparent very quickly. Being familiar with the warning signs can help alert you to the possibility of drugs in your system. If you notice any of the following warning signs in yourself or someone you know, reach out to someone you trust immediately. If you notice these symptoms in another person, you can take steps to keep that person safe. 

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Feeling drunk when you haven’t consumed any alcohol or very limited amounts
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Nausea
  • Sudden body temperature change that could be signaled by sweating or chattering teeth
  • Sudden increase in dizziness, disorientation, or blurred vision
  • Waking up with no memory, or missing large portions of memories 

Preserving Evidence
If you suspect you were drugged, you can take steps to preserve the evidence for an investigation. Many of these drugs leave the body quickly, within 12 to 72 hours. If you can’t get to a hospital immediately, save your urine in a clean, sealable container as soon as possible, and place it in the refrigerator or freezer. Call your local victim service provider or police department to help you set up a sexual assault forensic medical exam and test your blood and urine for substances.

Source Material and More Information:

http://satchawaii.com/about-sexual-violence/statistics/
https://vawnet.org/material/relationship-between-alcohol-consumption-and-sexual-victimization
https://www.rainn.org/articles/drug-facilitated-sexual-assault 
https://www.nsvrc.org/about-sexual-assault

Medical care after a sexual assault

If it is an emergency or the sexual assault just occurred, you should immediately go to a hospital emergency room or dial 911. 

Each county’s policies and procedures for follow-up medical care is different, however a sexual assault victim advocate can help explain the process to you.  If you choose to have a medical-legal examination, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) or Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) can also provide you with information on how to receive post-exam medical care. 

Counseling
Every county maintains a confidential 24-hour hotline for survivors of sexual assault.  Survivors are encouraged to contact the hotlines at any time for support, care and advocacy. 

Oahu
Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children, The Sex Abuse Treatment Center
808-524-7273 (24-hour hotline) 

Kauai
YWCA of Kauai, Sexual Abuse Treatment Program
808-245-4144 (24-hour hotline) 

Maui
Child and Family Service, Maui Sexual Assault Center
808-873-8624 (24-hour hotline) 

Hawaii Island
YWCA of Hawaii Island, Sexual Assault Support Services
808-935-0677 (24-hour hotline) 

Reporting sexual assault
You may contact your local police department or if you would like to talk to someone confidentially, contact a sexual assault victim service provider through their confidential 24-hour hotline.

Honolulu Police Department

  • Dial 911 for emergencies
  • Criminal Investigations Division: 808-723-3609  (business hours, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) 

Kauai Police Department 

  • Dial 911 for emergencies
  • Investigative Services Bureau: 808-241-1679  (business hours, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) 

Hawaii Police Department 

  • Dial 911 for emergencies
  • Area 1 (East Hawaii: Hamakua, Hilo and Puna) Juvenile Aid Section: 808-961-2254 (business hours, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
  • Area II (West Hawaii: Kohala, Kona and Ka’u) Juvenile Aid Section: 808-326-4646 ext. 230 (business hours, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) 

Maui Police Department

  • Dial 911 for emergencies
  • Investigative Services Bureau: 808-244-6400 (business hours, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

What is sexual assault?
Sexual assault refers to sexual contact that occurs without the victim’s consent. It can be fondling or unwanted sexual touching, forcing a victim to perform sexual acts including touching the perpetrator, or penetration of the victim’s body, also known as rape. 

How is it different from “rape”?
Rape is a type of sexual assault and is a term often used to specifically include sexual penetration without consent. The FBI defines rape as “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”  But “sexual assault” can also include fondling or groping, which are not typically considered “rape.” 
 
In Hawaii, “rape” has no legal definition and state statutes refer to such criminal acts as “sexual assault,” however, you may hear or see the terms used interchangeably both in the media and public. 

What does “consent” mean?
Consent is an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity. There are many ways to give consent, and consent doesn’t have to be verbal, but it must be freely given and informed, and a person can change their mind at any time. 

In Hawaii, “consent” is not defined by statute. However generally speaking, Hawaii law provides that a person commits a sex crime if: 

  1. the person subjects another person to a sexual act by compulsion; or 
  2. the person subjects to a sexual act another person who is mentally defective, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless. 

HRS §§ 707-730; 707-731; 707-732. 

“Compulsion” means absence of consent, or a threat, express or implied, that places a person in fear of public humiliation, property damage, or financial loss.  HRS §§ 707-700.  

It is not consent” if the ...

  • Attacker assumes that wearing certain clothes, flirting, or kissing is an invitation for anything more. 
  • Victim is under the legal age of consent. 
    • In Hawaii, primarily a person must be at least 16 years old to be able to consent to sexual activity. 
    • However a person may only “engage” (i.e., mutually agree to) in sex with someone who is 14 or 15 if they are less than five years older than the 14 or 15 year old (e.g. an 18 year old engaging in sex with a 14 year old). 
  • Victim is incapacitated because of drugs or alcohol. 
  • Attacker pressures someone into sexual activity by using fear or intimidation. 
    • In Hawaii, “compulsion, an element of sexual assault, includes an express or implied threat to place a person in fear of public humiliation, property damage, or financial loss. 
    • The threat of exposing a victim’s private photos or videos, a threat of eviction, or loss of job would constitute compulsion. 
  • Attacker assumes there is permission to engage in a sexual act just because it was done in the past.

Hawaii law defines what “ineffective consent” is: 
HRS §702-235 Ineffective consent. 
Unless otherwise provided by this Code or by the law defining the offense, consent does not constitute a defense if: 

  1. It is given by a person who is legally incompetent to authorize the conduct alleged; or 
  2. It is given by a person who by reason of youth, mental disease, disorder, or defect, or intoxication is manifestly unable or known by the defendant to be unable to make a reasonable judgment as to the nature or harmfulness of the conduct alleged; or 
  3. It is given by a person whose improvident consent is sought to be prevented by the law defining the offense; or 
  4. It is induced by force, duress or deception. [L 1972, c 9, pt of §1] 

 

Source Material and More Information

https://www.rainn.org/articles/sexual-assault 
https://theconversation.com/whats-the-difference-between-sexual-abuse-sexual-assault-sexual-harassment-and-rape-88218 
https://www.rainn.org/articles/what-is-consent 
https://www.nsvrc.org/about-sexual-assault 
https://apps.rainn.org/policy/policy-crime-definitions-export.cfm?state=Hawaii&group=9 

 

 

Thousands of sexual assault evidence kits that were not tested for DNA have been held in police department evidence rooms across the United States, often for years. Now, due to the availability of funding, better technologies, and change in best practice standards, and a philosophical shift in how sex crimes are approached, there is a movement nationwide towards the testing of more kits.

Project Mālama Kākou (which means “We Care”) was created as a result of Act 207 (2016) that brought together a multi-disciplinary team with the mission of comprehensively resolving this issue in Hawaii.  It is a state plan to:

  • Test previously untested sexual assault kits and new sexual assault kits;
  • Identify the criteria for testing and not testing sexual assault kits and the order of testing;
  • Provide active outreach and public notification to ensure that information and services are provided to impacted survivors; and
  • Establish a tracking system for sexual assault kits.

If you would like to know the status of your sexual assault evidence collection kit, or your investigation, if reported to the police, please email Project Mālama Kākou. Please complete all fields as completely as possible. It will take some time to research your case. A representative from a Hawaii Sexual Assault Response and Training Program member agency will contact you.

  • Honolulu Police Department
    Dial 911 for emergencies
    Criminal Investigations Division: 808-723-3609 (business hours, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
  • Kauai Police Department
    Dial 911 for emergencies
    Investigative Services Bureau: 808-241-1679 (business hours, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
  • Hawaii Police Department
    Dial 911 for emergencies
    Area 1 (East Hawaii: Hamakua, Hilo and Puna) Juvenile Aid Section: 808-961-2254 (business hours, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
    Area II (West Hawaii: Kohala, Kona and Kau) Juvenile Aid Section: 808-326-4646 ext. 230 (business hours, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
  • Maui Police Department
    Dial 911 for emergencies
    Investigative Services Bureau: 808-244-6400 (business hours, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

If you would like to know the status of your sexual assault evidence collection kit, or your investigation, if reported to the police, please email Project Mālama Kākou. Please complete all fields as completely as possible. It will take some time to research your case. A representative from a Hawaii Sexual Assault Response and Training Program member agency will contact you.

Every county maintains a confidential 24-hour hotline for survivors of sexual assault. Survivors are encouraged to contact the hotlines at any time for support, care and advocacy.

  • Oahu
    Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children, The Sex Abuse Treatment Center
    808-524-7273 (24-hour hotline)

Trained SATC counselors are on duty 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to provide confidential support, information, and advocacy on the phone.  When you dial 808-524-7273 during business hours, a receptionist will connect you to one of the SATC's crisis counselors. After regular business hours, weekends or holidays, your call is answered by Physician's Exchange who then contacts the crisis worker on call. The crisis staff will respond directly to you.

  • Kauai
    YWCA of Kauai, Sexual Abuse Treatment Program
    808-245-4144 (24-hour hotline)

YWCA of Kauai provides crisis outreach 24 hours per day, every day of the year, to assist and advocate for people who have experienced domestic violence or sexual assault. Crisis Counselors can meet with you face-to-face or talk with you by telephone to provide support, information and advocacy. You will receive referrals to locations where you can get examined and treated, crisis counseling, emotional support and information on your legal rights. If you do need a sexual assault examination (aka Rape Kit or SANE) or treatment, a crisis counselor will meet with you to talk about the examination beforehand, stay with you during the examination, and help you talk to law enforcement, investigators, medical personnel, family members and anyone else you need.

  • Maui
    Child and Family Service, Maui Sexual Assault Center
    808-873-8624 (24-hour hotline)

Maui Sexual Assault Center is a place for support, healing and education for all victims of sexual assault and their families. We focus on education to help prevent sexual violence, and healing and support for victims. We start by believing. Each healing process is unique. We are here to listen, support and discuss difficult feelings at any point in your process. Our main office is in Wailuku, Maui. We also have offices in Lahaina, Maui and in Kaunakakai, Molokai.

  • Hawaii Island
    YWCA of Hawaii Island, Sexual Assault Support Services
    808-935-0677 (24-hour hotline)

YWCA of Hawaii offers support services for victims. Our advocates are available 24/7 to provide support and advocacy at your discretion including free, confidential counseling, crisis intervention, emotional and moral support, therapeutic services, and assistance deciding whether to file a police report. An advocate will inform you of your options and can accompany you to report the assault, access medical care and provide support throughout the legal process.

 

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HSART MDT Portal (under construction)