What is the Cost to Me?
Victims of sexual assault can access a medical forensic exam for free and regardless of their decision to participate in the criminal justice process.
Under this law, a state must ensure that victims have access to an exam free of charge or with a full reimbursement, even if the victim decides not to cooperate with law enforcement investigators.
Essentially, this new law allows victims time to decide whether to pursue their case. A sexual assault is a traumatic event and some victims are unable to decide in the immediate aftermath. Because forensic evidence can be lost as time progresses, a “Jane Doe Rape Kit” enables a victim to have forensic evidence collected without revealing identifying information. For instance, in some states, victims are given a code number they can use to identify themselves if they choose to report the crime at a later date. Each state has determined different time frames for the storage of a kit. The victim should be informed at the time of the exam as to the length of time the kit will be retained, as well as the disposition of the kit.