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"Rape is not something you budget for"

 
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Tehanu
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 1:59 am    Post subject: "Rape is not something you budget for" Reply with quote

Women in USA are still being charged for rape kits. And many, many kits are still not being tested. Long investigative report from Pro Publica and the Huffington Post investigative fund.

Quote:
When a woman is raped, police turn to scientific evidence-semen, blood and tissue samples-to identify her attacker. The evidence is collected through a medical exam of the victim, who is not supposed to pay for this crime-solving process.

But 15 years after Congress passed a law to ensure that rape victims would never see a bill, loopholes and bureaucratic tangles still leave some victims paying for hospital expenses and exams, which can cost up to $1,200.

Congress requires state or local authorities to cover these costs, but the state legislatures that regulate the process offer piecemeal guarantees of Congressí mandate, the Huffington Post Investigative Fund and ProPublica found. Some states allow hospitals to bill the victimís insurer. Confusion in California and other states allows police to occasionally ignore Congressí rules and require victims to cooperate with an investigation before exam costs are covered. Lax enforcement of the law, victimsí advocates say, also means some hospitals in Illinois bill victims directly.

... But ambiguities in the law still allow a remarkable disparity in the legal system: Some rape victims, unlike victims of other crimes, have to pay for basic evidence collection.

... As a victim recovers from her assault, the last thing she needs is a bill for her exam, said Katherine Hull, a spokeswoman for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

After all, she said, "Rape is not something you can budget for".

... Yet states vary in how proficiently they process the evidence and medical bills that follow. As we previously reported, even if the state pays for an exam, there is no guarantee the evidence will be tested. There are more than 350,000 untested DNA samples backlogged in police departments and crime labs nationwide, according to federal statistics.

... Some states and police departments have a history of skirting their responsibility to pay for forensic exams, we found in an analysis of state statutes and from interviews with policymakers and victimsí advocates.

... Justice Department officials also have found that, until recently, some states refused to pay for a rape victimís exam unless she agreed to file a police report, which some victims are reluctant to do immediately after the attack.

In 2005, Congress revised VAWA to hold states more accountable. This time, Congress required state or local officials to pay for forensic exams even if a victim declined to cooperate with police. States that didnít comply would lose federal crime-fighting grants.

The new rule went into effect this January with some marked successes.

By June, only five states were still billing victims who didnít file police reports, according to the Justice Department. By early July, that number had dropped to one. Now department officials say every state is complying.

But the department still hasnít verified that all of the nationís 15,000-plus law enforcement agencies are following Congressí mandate. After hearing about complaints from victims, the department contracted an outside advocacy group to more closely track these agencies, a Justice Department official said.

... Even states that abide by VAWA can take advantage of its loopholes, leaving victims without the full protections that lawmakers intended.

... At least one state, West Virginia, wonít cover emergency birth control or emergency medication to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
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Tehanu
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Location: Seceded from the Ford Nation

PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You were raped? Here's the bill.

Kind of Twilight Zone, eh? But welcome to the US of A. Not only do they not bother processing rape kits, now in some states they are billing survivors to collect evidence in the actual rape. (New Jersey in this case, is actually working on legislation to prevent this from happening.)

Roll on private sector and laissez faire capitalism, I say.

Quote:
Health care providers may soon be barred by the state from directly billing sexual assault victims for forensic evidence collection.

The federal government requires that the providers be reimbursed for such services, but all invoices are supposed to go to designated government agencies for review and payment. However, victims frequently receive such invoices due to administrative errors or attempts to get payment from a victim's insurance company.

The New Jersey measure ó which was overwhelmingly passed by both houses of the Legislature and now awaits Gov. Chris Christie's consideration ó would clarify that victims should never receive such invoices.

... "Sexual assault victims have already suffered enough. I see no reason why we should add to that suffering by essentially forcing them to pay for the investigation into their own assault," [Assembly person] Quijano said. "We must remember that these women are the victims, not the criminals."

Under the proposal, victims could not be billed for services directly associated with forensic sexual assault examinations. This would include routine medical screening, medications to prevent sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy tests and emergency contraception, as well as supplies, equipment and use of space.

"In no other crime would it even be contemplated that victims receive an invoice for the collection of evidence needed to prosecute the offenders," said Sen. Diane Allen, R-Burlington, who sponsored the measure in that chamber along with Sen. James Beach, D-Voorhees.

... It's not clear when Christie will act on the bill. The bill remains under review by his office, and the governor himself has not addressed the matter.

The Senate approved the measure in late March, while the Assembly passed it in late June.
.

The Republic via Feministing (my bold.)
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