What does Colorado law say about sexual assault reporting?
In the state of Colorado, there are several laws governing the options available to sexual assault survivors. These laws are required by the federal Violence Against Women Act, and are important for you to understand if you will be assisting a survivor of sexual assault with navigating their next steps.
Under Colorado law (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-3-407.5 (3)), adult survivors (ages 18-69) who do not have a documented intellectual or developmental disability can receive a medical forensic exam (MFE) without involving with law enforcement. The choice about whether to have an MFE is entirely the survivor’s.
A survivor of sexual assault should NEVER be billed for the evidence collection portion cost of a medical forensic exam (MFE). If a survivor of a sexual assault contacts your law enforcement agency, it is important everyone has this information.
Survivors of sexual assault (ages 18-69 who do not have a documented intellectual or developmental disability) have three options when seeking a medical forensic exam:
Law Enforcement Report, Medical Report, Anonymous Report
In all cases, the survivor decides whether they would like evidence collected. The decision is completely up to the survivor, not the medical facility or law enforcement agency.
For more detailed information on each reporting option and your role in assisting survivors of sexual assault, see What are a Sexual Assault Survivor’s Reporting Options in Colorado.
1. Law Enforcement Report
Survivors choosing to report a sexual assault to law enforcement
The law enforcement agency where the crime occurred is obligated to pay for the evidence collection portion of the medical forensic exam (Colo. Rev.Stat. §18-3-407.5(1)).
2. Medical Report (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 12-36-135)
At the time of the MFE, the survivor chooses not to file a report with law enforcement, but their name is shared with you and the sexual assault evidence collection kit can either be tested if the survivor consents to testing (Colo. Rev. Stat. 24-33.5-113 (1) (b) (III)) or stored for at least the statute of limitations (20 years for felony sex assault) if they do not consent to testing (Colo. Rev. Stat.18-3-407.5 (3) (c)).
3. Anonymous Report (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 12-36-135)
If a survivor chooses not to share their name with you, their sexual assault evidence collection kit is not tested, but the kit is stored at your law enforcement agency for at least the statute of limitations (20 years for felony sex assault) (Colo. Rev. Stat. 18-3-407.5 (3) (c)).