This information is designed to:
- communicate the requirements of the Violence Against Women Act (as reauthorized in 2005 and 2013), and
- offer recommended practices for implementation.
The goal is to highlight examples of communities striving to achieve a higher standard of the “spirit of the law,” rather than simply meeting the “letter of the law” for VAWA forensic compliance. It is critically important that readers consult state laws and regulations, as well as local policies and protocols, because they may have additional requirements beyond those included in VAWA 2005 and VAWA 2013. For more information specific to your state or territory, contact the STOP Grant Administrator or coalition of advocacy organizations providing services for sexual assault victims. A listing is available from the website for the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice.
Some states require medical personnel to report to law enforcement when a patient discloses that she/he has been sexually assaulted. Attached is a sample form with instructions for the state of California. In California, most forensic exams are conducted with a report to law enforcement, so the mandated reporting requirement is met when the forensic examiner submits the standard form (known as the “OES-923 Form” for documenting evidence from an adult victim of sexual assault). However, when a forensic exam is conducted without a report to law enforcement, medical personnel must still meet their requirement of mandated reporting. Some forensic examiners have therefore used this alternative form and instructions provided below to report the sexual assault to law enforcement without the victim’s participation.
Many professionals have questions about the laws in their state pertaining to medical mandated reporting for sexual assault. Answers can be found in the compilation of laws prepared in 2010 by the National District Attorneys Association. This 66-page document is entitled, “Mandatory Reporting of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Statutes,” and it includes any relevant laws for all U.S. states and territories.
A similar compilation was also completed in 2010 by AEquitas: The Prosecutors Resource on Violence Against Women. While it pertains exclusively to domestic violence, this will of course cover sexual assault that is perpetrated within the context of intimate partner violence. The document is entitled, “Reporting Requirements for Competent Adult Victims of Domestic Violence.“
This EVAWI webinar, moderated by Sgt. Joanne Archambault (Ret.) and Dr. Kim Lonsway of EVAW International, with expert presenters include Kim Day, and Teresa Scalzo, is designed to clarify the complex issues surrounding medical mandated reporting and explore questions regarding compliance with VAWA 2005 provisions and forensic exams.