Sexual Assault Evidence Kit Testing
HB13-1020 was passed to address the way sexual assault evidence kits are handled in the state. First, it eliminated the Rape Kit Backlog. The backlog is a collection of medical forensic evidence (sexual assault kits) stored in any law enforcement facility in the State of Colorado. After the bill was passed, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) requested and received an inventory list of sexual assault kits from law enforcement evidence storage. However, legislation only mandated that law enforcement provide lists of “active” cases. From the list of kits sent to CBI, CBI determined which kits could be sent out for lab testing. Ultimately, for any kits sent out for testing, law enforcement will receive the results of lab tests and reports from CBI.
The second thing HB13-1020 does is ensure that sexual assault evidence is tested expediently and appropriately. Since the bill's inception, most rape kits are now submitted to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation unless the victim does not submit to evidence testing, or law enforcement has proven via an investigation that the report was not corroborated – the report has to be proven false, not simply that the investigation could not proven to be true.
Sexual Assault Evidence Collection
Like other aspects of the medical forensic exam (MFE), the collection of evidence should occur in a manner that is patient-centered, preserving patient autonomy and dignity throughout the process. It is equally important to understand there are significant acute and long-term health consequences associated with sexual assault, regardless of whether a patient requests evidence collection. Therefore, every patient should be offered an evaluation. Patients should never be discouraged from receiving an MFE. A victim is the sole decider of whether or not they want to receive an exam.
There are three possible reporting options for a victim who chooses to receive an MFE: Law Enforcement Report, Medical Report, and Anonymous Report. For more details on these reporting options, visit the Reporting Options page.
The statewide Evidence Protocol (pdf, 2.92 MB) provides assistance to providers (healthcare predominantly) with the consistent and complete collection of the sexual evidence collection kit, which is one part of a comprehensive medical forensic response to sexual assault patients. While it is up to each patient to determine whether she or he wants evidence collection completed, when it is done it can be an important piece in the criminal justice response, and therefore must be done in a manner that ensures meeting the necessary standards for use in the investigation and possible legal proceedings that may occur.
If you are a victim or a victim advocate, you may download and print out a consent and information form from this webpage.