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Colorado Reporting Options

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Colorado Reporting Options

In the state of Colorado, you have a variety of reporting options. Colorado recognizes that sometimes you just need time to know what it is you want to do and to understand what is available to you.

If you choose to seek medical care and have evidence of the assault collected, there are three “reporting” options available to adults aged 18-69 years old, who are not deemed at-risk by state law. In two of the options, you can seek medical care, have evidence collected, and not be asked to work with or even speak with the police.

The term “reporting” is used for these options, but only one of them means you would be “reporting” to the police.

If you experienced your sexual assault in an educational context (K-12 and college/university), you have additional rights. Visit the Legal Rights page for more information.

Ways to Report

Federal and state law provide you with the following options if you seek medical care:

Report your experience anonymously:

This option, often called anonymous reporting, enables you to seek assistance from a sexual assault nurse examiner or a forensic nurse examiner program and participate in a medical forensic exam. What’s important to know if you choose this option, is your name is not written on the outside of the sexual assault evidence collection kit and you remain anonymous to the police. The medical facility will have your contact information. Anonymous means anonymous to law enforcement.

With this choice, your sexual assault evidence collection kit will not be tested and instead, will be stored at the law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction where the crime occurred for a minimum of two years. You will be given a case number you can use to retrieve your sexual assault evidence collection kit if you decide at a later date you would like to work with the police on your case. This case number will also be written in your medical file, so don’t worry if you lose it; the SANE or FNE program you visited can retrieve it for you.

Report your experience to the police but request they do not investigate your assault at this time:

This option, often called medical reporting or non-investigative reporting, allows you to have a medical forensic exam, including evidence collection, if you would like, but not work with the police at that time. It also allows you to have your evidence tested, if you would like, at an accredited crime lab. Under this option, the police  will get your name and contact information, but you do not have to speak with them if you do not want to. Sometimes, the police officer responding to the hospital would like to meet you and give you their card and check you are okay, but there is no requirement you agree to this.

Your sexual assault evidence collection kit will be sent for testing at a crime lab within 21 days of its receipt by the law enforcement agency unless you do not give or withdraw your consent for testing. The testing process can take about 4-6 months but has to be completed within 6 months (180 days). You may not hear anything from the law enforcement agency about results for a while.

Report to the police and work with them on an investigation:

This is the reporting option most of us know. It involves speaking with a patrol officer, and perhaps a sex crimes detective, at the hospital and then having a follow up interview with the detective a few days later.

You may have options, depending on the county, to speak with a victim advocate. Some victim advocates work for the police department, and some are community-based. Both can provide you with emotional support, assist you with applying for Colorado Crime Victim Compensation funds, and explain how the law enforcement investigation will proceed.  A law enforcement advocate is not a confidential resource, so you might find it helpful to also connect with a community-based victim advocate for confidential support (if you are over 18). Depending on the law enforcement agency, victim advocates may or may not be able to sit with you during your interview(s) with detectives.

Under this option, your sexual assault evidence collection kit will be sent for DNA testing at a crime lab within 21 days of its receipt by the law enforcement agency unless you do not give, or withdraw, your consent for testing. The testing process can take about 4-6 months but must be completed within 6 months (180 days). You may not hear anything from the law enforcement agency about results for a while after your initial interviews with them.

At a Glance Reporting Option Recap: ( Survivors )

QuestionAnonymous ReportingMedical ReportingLaw Enforcement Reporting
Do I need to speak with the police?NoNoYes
Is my name on the sexual assault evidence collection kit for the police to see?NoYesYes
Who pays for my exam?A combination of insurance and the SAVE fund, or just the SAVE fund. Federal and state law prohibits you receiving a bill for the evidence collection portion of the exam.A combination of insurance and the SAVE fund, or just the SAVE fund. Federal and state law prohibits you receiving a bill for the evidence collection portion of the exam.A combination of insurance, law enforcement, and Colorado Crime Victim Compensation. Federal and state law prohibits you receiving a bill for the evidence collection portion of the exam.
Is my evidence tested?NoYes, as long as you consent to testing.Yes, providing you give consent for it to be tested.
How long is my sexual assault evidence collection kit stored?Current state law requires the police department to store your kit for a minimum of two years.Current state law requires the police department to store your kit for a minimum of two years.Current state law requires the police to store your kit for a minimum of two years unless there is an active investigation and/or prosecution occurring.
Can I change my mind and work with the police at a later date?Yes, you can use the case number you are given to locate your kit and start an investigation with the police.Yes, you can use the case number you are given to start an investigation.Yes, if you decide you need more time or are not able to participate in an investigation at this time, you can step back and your case will be inactivated until you are ready.
Will I be notified if my evidence is going to be destroyed?Since the police will not know who you are, and will not be able to contact you, they are unable to let you know if they are going to destroy your kit after the statutorily required time frames have passed. You can call the police department storing your kit before the two years is over to request they continue to store your kit, however doing so would likely reveal your identity to them.Whether or not you consented to have your kit tested at a crime lab, the police department is required by Colorado law to store the kit for at least two years. If your case was investigated but it did not result in charges being filed by the district attorney, the police department is required by Colorado law to keep the DNA evidence (your kit) for the statute of limitations (20 years for felony sex assault). If there is a conviction in your case, Colorado law requires police departments retain DNA evidence for the life of the defendant. Each individual police department determines their process for evidence destruction and victim notification. Please contact the agency storing your kit for more information on their DNA storage and destruction protocols.Whether or not you consented to have your kit tested at a crime lab, the police department is required by Colorado law to store the kit for at least two years. If your case was investigated but it did not result in charges being filed by the district attorney, the police department is required by Colorado law to keep the DNA evidence (your kit) for the statute of limitations (20 years for felony sex assault). If there is a conviction in your case, Colorado law requires police departments retain DNA evidence for the life of the defendant. Each individual police department determines their process for evidence destruction and victim notification. Please contact the agency storing your kit for more information on their DNA storage and destruction protocols.
Will I be notified when the evidence testing is complete?NAMaybe. Different police departments have different policies. The analysis process must be completed within 180 days per Colorado state law.Maybe. Different police departments have different policies. The analysis process must be completed within 180 days per Colorado state law.