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Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Exams and VAWA 2005: Payment Practices, Successes, and Directions for the Future

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2014
230 pages
This study examined various features of States’ administration of sexual assault medical forensic exams (MFEs) and determined whether States are complying with the Federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 2005 in paying for MFEs regardless of whether the victim reports the sexual assault to law enforcement or cooperates with the criminal justice system in case processing.
The Violence Against Women Act of 2005 requires that sexual assault victims must not be required to file law enforcement reports in order to receive free exams. This study aimed to examine how states are meeting these goals. We found victim compensation funds are by far the largest funder of exams across the country. In the 19 jurisdictions included in case studies, victims generally received free exams without having to report if they did not want to. However, barriers to even accessing the exam prevent some victims from seeking help.

Date Published: April 1, 2014