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Summary Of Laws & Guidelines: Payment of Sexual Assault Forensic Examinations

NCJ Number
Charlene Whitman
Date Published
February 2012
12 pages
This report presents the findings of a survey of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories, in order to determine the content of their laws and guidelines that relate to payment for sexual assault forensic examinations (SAFEs) following an assault, as well as payment for additional medical treatment for victims' physical and emotional harms.
The survey addressed which agency pays, the criteria for payment, what services are included and excluded in payment schemes, other authorization or eligibility requirements, disqualifying factors, payment methods, whether the State requires restitution from a guilty defendant, and any evidence- retention laws related to SAFEs. Most States provide payment for SAFEs through one of four entities: the State's victim compensation fund, the county where the offense occurred, the requesting or referring law enforcement agency, or a designated sexual assault program or fund authorized to reimburse or directly pay for SAFEs. Twelve States cover the cost of forensic medical examinations in more than one way, depending on various factors. Fifteen States have developed uniform SAFE kits and distribute them, at no charge, to healthcare providers and other professionals who administer forensic examinations. Thirty-eight States statutorily prohibit a healthcare provider from charging a sexual assault victim for conducting the SAFE. Twenty-eight States have statutes that indicate how much the State will pay toward a SAFE. Thirty-three State statutes identify specific collateral services for the victim's care that the State will cover. The laws of some States specify factors that will disqualify payment or reimbursement for a SAFE. Nine States require that a convicted defendant be liable for restitution. In addition, many States have laws that address procedures for evidence collection and retention. Tables present findings by State.