(Feb. 14) – A bill to create a compensation fund to ensure sexual assault victims do not have to pay for necessary medical care and treatment related to a sexual assault passed the House Judiciary Committee unanimously today.
Currently, federal law prevents hospitals from charging sexual assault survivors for their rape kits, but the survivors are still responsible for other costs incurred when going to a medical service provider. This can range from emergency room admittance fees to treatment of injuries to further testing.
HB13-1163, sponsored by Rep. Daniel Kagan (D-Greenwood Village), will create the Sexual Assault Victim Emergency (SAVE) Payment Program, which will provide funding for victims who would qualify.
“There is absolutely no reason why a sexual assault victim should have to endure medical costs related to their attack,” Rep. Kagan said. “And it’s just not right that sexual assault victims should be faced with these terrible dilemmas in addition to the trauma they’re facing. This bill would put an end to that. For those people it can be a life-changing factor.”
To be eligible for the fund, the victim must have been assaulted in Colorado and received a sexual assault medical forensic examination. The Division of Criminal Justice Office for Victims Programs will administer the SAVE Payment Program. The costs are limited to the medical procedures related directly to the sexual assault.
Testifying in support of the bill today were several sexual assault survivors as well as representatives of the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the Rocky Mountain Victim Law Center.