February 7, 2012
All states and territories must certify that they are in compliance with VAWA 2005; requirements for medical forensic examinations. Specifically, exams must be available to; sexual assault victims: 1) free of charge, and 2) regardless of their decision to participate in the criminal justice process.
Communities have faced considerable challenges in designing protocols that are compliant, in areas such as: the initial response to a sexual assault disclosure, payment for the medical forensic examination, mandatory reporting to law enforcement, storage and transportation of evidence, case tracking and retrieval, processing of evidence, and the potential for evidence-based prosecution (i.e., without the victim’s cooperation). For many states and territories, the changes that are required in public policy and daily practice have been described as “monumental.”
This project is supported by Grant No. 2009-TA-AX-K003 awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.