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. This confusion can lead to survivors deciding not to seek medical care. Understanding these requirements will enable you to provide accurate information to your clients so they can make an informed decision related to their healthcare needs.
If a survivor does not choose to have evidence collected, then sexual assault is not a mandatory report unless the Medical Licensee believes there is serious bodily injury.
Under Colorado law (C.R.S. §12-36-135 (1)), any injury occurring 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 (C.R.S. §18-3-407.5) allows for survivors of sexual assault to have evidence collected at no cost without reporting to law enforcement. These options apply to patients who are 18-69 years old and are not living with a documented intellectual or developmental disability.
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 victim to a confidential community-based advocate and/or provide the victim with information concerning services available to victims 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 C.R.S. 12-36-135 (I)(a)(I)(C), (III)-(VI).