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Colorado Reporting Options

What reporting options does a survivor have in Colorado?

In the state of Colorado, survivors of sexual assault have a variety of reporting options. Colorado recognizes that sometimes survivors need time to know what it is they want to do and to understand what is available to them.

In Colorado, survivors of sexual assault between 18-69 years old, who do not have intellectual or developmental disabilities, have three options for reporting. Even though the term “reporting” is used, only one of the reporting options involves reporting to the police.

For two of the reporting options, a survivor can get medical care and/or submit collected evidence without having to speak to the police.

If someone experienced sexual assault as a student, teacher, or employee of a school, college or university, they also have other rights and reporting options. 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:

Anonymous reporting allows you to get a medical forensic exam. If you choose this option, 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, but law enforcement will not.

With this option, your sexual assault evidence collection kit will not be sent for DNA testing at a crime lab. Instead, the evidence will be stored at the law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction where the assault happened for at least the statute of limitations (20 years for felony sex assault). You will be given a case number which can be used to find 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 medical facility you visited can get it for you.

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

This option is often called medical reporting or non-investigative reporting and allows you to get a medical forensic exam, including evidence collection, if you would like, but not work with the police at that time. If you would like, it also allows you to have your evidence tested at an accredited crime lab to see if there is an DNA they can find and if they would be able to connect the DNA in a database. Under this option, the police will get your name and contact information. HOWEVER 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 that 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 MUST 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 people are familiar with. You may speak with different police officers at different times which might be at the hopsital, at the police station or other places for various interviews.

You can ask to have an advocate with you when you talk to police. 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 confidential. Things you say to a law enforcement advocate can be shared with police. Confidential, community-based advocates can be there for you during an interview and outside of working with police. They are confidential and won’t share anything you say with police unless you want them to.

Under this option, your sexual assault evidence collection kit will be sent for DNA testing at a crime lab within 21 days of when police get it from the medical facility. You can always choose not to have police take it and even tell them to withdraw it if you change your mind. The testing process can take about 4-6 months but must be finished 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, but they are required to let you know when results from the lab are back.

If you are submitting evidence from you medical forensic exam, you have the right to be told what is happening with your kit. You should be notified by police when your kit is submitted to the lab to be tested, when results are ready, if there was DNA found, and if there are any DNA matches. Kits are held for at least the statute of limitations (20 years for felony sex assault) and then sometimes they are destroyed. You should be notified at least 60 days before they destroy your kit and you have the right to object to it being destroyed. You should also be notified of any changes in the case. These are your rights by Colorado Law.

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 a survivor's insurance and the SAVE fund. If you do not have insurance or do not want to bill to insurance, the SAVE fund will will cover some of the costs, but it might not cover all. Federal and state law ensures you will not be billed for the evidence collection portion of the exam.A combination of a survivor's insurance and the SAVE fund. If you do not have insurance or do not want to bill to insurance, the SAVE fund will will cover some of the costs, but it might not cover all. Federal and state law ensures you will not be billed for the evidence collection portion of the exam.A combination of a survivor's insurance, law enforcement, and Colorado Crime Victim Compensation. Crime Victim Compensation works by reimbursement so you would need to pay in advance and then submit receipts for reimbursement. Federal and state law ensures you will not be billed for the evidence collection portion of the exam.
Is my evidence tested?NoYes, as long as you consent to testing.Yes, as long as you consent to testing.
How long is my sexual assault evidence collection kit stored?Colorado law requires the police department to keep the DNA evidence (your kit) for the statute of limitations (20 years for felony sex assault).Colorado law requires the police department to keep the DNA evidence (your kit) for the statute of limitations (20 years for felony sex assault).Colorado law requires the police department to keep the DNA evidence (your kit) for the statute of limitations (20 years for felony sex assault).
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 find 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 do not want to work with police, you ask for it to pause or stop and your case will be inactive 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 required time frame has passed. You can call the police department storing your kit before the statute of limitations expires (20 years for felony sexual assault) to request they to store your kit for longer. 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 the statute of limitations (20 years for felony sexual assault). After police investigate, a prosecutor will choose to take the case to court to prosecute or decline to prosecute the case, even if you want to. If the prosecutor declines your case, the police department is still required by Colorado law to keep the DNA evidence (your kit) for the statute of limitations. If the prosecutor does take the case and there is a conviction, Colorado law requires police departments to hold onto the DNA evidence for the life of the survivor and 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 the statute of limitations (20 years for felony sexual assault). After police investigate, a prosecutor will choose to take the case to court to prosecute or decline to prosecute the case, even if you want to. If the prosecutor declines your case, the police department is still required by Colorado law to keep the DNA evidence (your kit) for the statute of limitations. If the prosecutor does take the case and there is a conviction, Colorado law requires police departments to hold onto the DNA evidence for the life of the survivor and 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 is submitted for testing and when testing is complete?Since you did not consent, the medical forensic DNA evidence cannot be submitted for testing.If you do not consent, the medical forensic DNA evidence cannot be submitted for testing. If you consent to testing, current state law provides survivors with several rights, including the right to be notified when the DNA evidence has been submitted for testing, when law enforcement receives the results, and if DNA was found.If you do not consent, the medical forensic DNA evidence cannot be submitted for testing. If you consent to testing, current state law provides survivors with several rights, including the right to be notified when the DNA evidence has been submitted for testing, when law enforcement receives the results, and if DNA was found.