Is sexual assault a mandatory report to law enforcement?
There is often confusion about whether certain professionals have to report sexual assault to law enforcement. Understanding these requirements will enable you to provide accurate information to survivors so they can make informed decisions related to their healthcare and other needs.
Community-based advocates are required to maintain confidentiality unless the survivor is under 18 and/or if they hear about child abuse and neglect. Communication between community-based victim advocates and sexual assault survivors is privileged under Colorado law (C.R.S. § 13-90-107 (1)(k)(i-ii)).
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 (C.R.S. § 12-36-135).
Under Colorado law, any injury occurring due to a suspected criminal act must be reported to the law enforcement agency in the treating facility’s jurisdiction (C.R.S. §12-36-135 (1)).
However, with sexual assault, medical providers must make a report based on the survivor’s choice (law enforcement report, medical report, or anonymous report). Colorado law allows for survivors of sexual assault to have evidence collected at no cost without reporting to law enforcement (C.R.S. §18-3-407.5). These options apply to patients who are 18-69 years old and are not living with a documented intellectual or developmental disability.
Additionally, Medical Licensees are no longer mandated to report to law enforcement injuries they believe to be the result of domestic violence for patients who are 18-69 years old and are not living with a documented intellectual or developmental disability. 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 (C.R.S. 12-36-135 (I)(a)(I)(C), (III)-(VI)).