Is sexual assault a mandatory report to law enforcement?
There is often confusion about whether medical providers have to report sexual assault to law enforcement when a survivor seeks medical care. Under Colorado law (Colo. Rev. Stat. §12-36-135 (1)), any injury that occurs due to a suspected criminal act must be reported to the law enforcement agency in the treating facility’s jurisdiction. However, with sexual assault, medical providers should make a report based on the survivor’s choice (law enforcement report, medical report, or anonymous report). Colorado law (Colo. Rev. Stat. §18-3-407.5 (3)) allows for survivors of sexual assault to have evidence collected at no cost to them without reporting to law enforcement. Survivors also get to choose whether they want the exam; this is no longer the choice of law enforcement. Colorado’s reporting options apply to survivors who are 18-69 years old and are not living with a documented intellectual or developmental disability.
If a survivor does not choose to have evidence collected, then sexual assault is not a mandatory report to law enforcement unless the Medical Licensee believes there is serious bodily injury or Colorado’s mandatory reporting laws apply (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 12-36-135).
Additionally, as of August 2017, Medical Licensees are no longer mandated to report to law enforcement injuries they believe to be the result of domestic violence. Instead, the licensee shall either refer the survivor to a confidential community-based victim advocate and/or provide the survivor with information concerning services available to survivors of abuse. The removal of mandatory reporting requirements for Medical Licensees applies to their patients who are 18-69 years old and are not living with a documented intellectual or developmental disability. For full details of these statutory changes, see Colo. Rev. Stat. 12-36-135 (I)(a)(I)(C), (III)-(VI).