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Helpful Definitions

Throughout discussions about untested, or sometimes referred to as unsubmitted sexual assault kits, several terms or acronyms are used. Below you will find some of those commonly used and an explanation for each.
 

A sexual assault kit (SAK), also referred to as a SART Kit, is a set of items used by medical personnel or trained professionals for the preservation of physical evidence collected from a person, living or deceased, following an allegation or suspicion of sexual assault; they may come in a packaged box in more recent years or in bags or as individual swabs in the past.

Unsubmitted sexual assault kits are kits that have never been submitted to a forensic laboratory for testing and analysis.  

A backlog generally refers to evidence that was submitted to a crime lab and that remains untested after 30 days.

A DNA profile carries genetic material and is unique to an individual like a fingerprint but uses a person's DNA instead of the ridges on their fingertips to identify the person. DNA is the same throughout a person's body.

 

The Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) is a system of federal, state and local databases that contain DNA profiles from both known offenders and crime scenes. CODIS is used to generate investigative leads.
When a DNA profile is uploaded into CODIS and finds a matching DNA profile from a separate unsolved criminal offense or a possible suspect, it is referred to as a "CODIS Hit" and can be used as an investigative lead by law enforcement.
 
Warm hits in the CODIS system occur when a named suspect in a case is linked to a DNA profile from the evidence in that criminal offense. A warm hit confirms what was already learned during the investigation.
Cold hits in the CODIS system occur when a DNA profile from the evidence in an unsolved criminal offense is linked to a profile from an known offender in the CODIS database, and that offender was not a named suspect in the offense. A cold hit provides new information in an investigation.