Forensic Medical Exam

House Bill 08-1217 was passed to guarantee that a victim of a sexual assault will be provided with a free forensic medical exam (rape kit), even if they do not wish to report the crime to law enforcement. A forensic medical exam will often produce evidence necessary to the successful investigation and prosecution of a crime and should be done as close to the time of the incident as possible.

If a victim of a sexual assault wishes to receive a forensic medical exam, she/he may go to a hospital that provides forensic exams even if they do not wish to report the crime. While victims of sexual assault will not be charged for the forensic exam, he/she may be charged for other medical expenses not related to the exam, such as the cost of medical treatment.

HB 08-1217 does not affect Colorado’s mandatory reporting laws. Under Colorado law, the attending physician is required to report to a law enforcement agency any known or suspected physical and sexual abuse crimes as well as crimes of domestic abuse. Therefore, the physician/nurse who conducts the exam is required to contact law enforcement to report the crime, however, there is no requirement that the victim of the crime participate in the criminal justice system or cooperate with law enforcement.

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