After enduring the horrific experience of rape, victims face an invasive and sometimes humiliating series of tests to collect evidence, says The Tennessean. For many victims, those tests are followed by bills, demanding payment of as much as $1,000 for the forensic examinations. In some instances, the bills are turned over to collection agencies when the victims fail to pay. “It retraumatizes them, revictimizes them and makes them think of the rape all over again,” said Eric Scott Fogle of the Rape and Sexual Abuse Center in Nashville.
The state legslature is creating a criminal injuries compensation fund and a sexual assault forensic examination fund would cover victims’ out-of-pocket costs for rape exams. The fund payments would cost the state about $527,000 during the next fiscal year. Hospital administrators are pleased to hear that the state will be assuming the costs of their service, which helps about 200 Nashville-area sexual assault victims annually. “This allows us to be compensated for the service we provide victims of violent sexual crimes,” said one hospital administrator.