Wednesday, May 14

Jane Doe Rape Kits.. Finally

I just found an article on the AP about a new law that will require that ALL states to pay for anonymous rape kits.

All I can say is..FINALLY. The article explains that as of 2009, women will be able to go to hospitals and have an exam and collections taken for a rape kit which will then be held for them in case they decide to contact police. Instead of making them pay for the exam and to hold the collected samples, the state will now cover all the costs or risk losing federal money through the Violence Against Women Act. For those of you are not familiar with current rape kit collection and procedure, most women have to pay for the kits themselves. If a woman decides to go to the police, she can sometimes get the cost of the kit reimbursed through victim advocacy funds, but only if she meets certain requirements (such as reporting the crime within a certain amount of time). Many women wait too long due to fear, confusion or pain to be eligible for these funds and end up paying upwards of $800.

Soon women will be able to go an emergency room, have a rape kit done, and know that the samples will be held for them anonymously. The article does mention that states will be able to decide how long the kits will be kept, so I hope they pick appropriate lengths of time. I would hate for women to still feel subtle pressure to report by way of a rape kit that will be trashed after a short amount of time.

Overall, I think this is a great step & one that is long overdue. Now, if we could just find a way to make sure that all nurses are TRAINED in rape kit collection... but that's a post for another day (or maybe later today!).