CCASA co-founded, and continues to co-chair, the statewide Forensic Compliance Team (FCT) in partnership with the Division of Criminal Justice, Office for Victims Programs. The FCT is a multidisciplinary group that works to ensure victim-centered implementation of federal and state forensic compliance laws as well as address related sexual assault policy and practice issues. Multiple CCASA staff members are a part of the FCT, bringing their expertise and perspective to this statewide task force.
The term “forensic compliance” commonly refers to federal requirements for all states, territories, and tribes receiving federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Services Training, Officers, Prosecutors (STOP) grant funding that mandate sexual assault victims receive medical forensic exams at no cost to the victim without required participation in a law enforcement investigation as of 2005.
In 2008, CCASA worked to pass House Bill 08-1217, which enabled sexual assault victims to receive a medical forensic exam, in which the evidence collection portion of the exam is provided at no cost to the victim, without having to participate in the criminal legal system.
The FCT conducted an assessment of Colorado’s compliance with these federal and state mandates resulting in a report published in 2013. The FCT has also developed guidelines and tools to assist law enforcement, medical professionals, and community advocates in understanding and implementing forensic compliance requirements. Additionally, the FCT developed the You Have the Right public awareness campaign and website, which explains the various report options and resources available to sexual assault victims in Colorado.
As a result of work done by the FCT, CCASA has helped pass additional pieces of legislation, including:
- House Bill 13-1163, which created the Sexual Assault Victim Emergency (SAVE) payment program to assist medical reporting victims with medical costs associated with obtaining the exam as well as some medical costs resulting from the sexual assault.
- Senate Bill 15-128, which created an anonymous reporting option for sexual assault victims who wish to have medical forensic evidence collected, while maintaining anonymity from law enforcement.
Currently, CCASA is working with members of the FCT and other partners on House Bill 23-1199. This bill would develop a tracking system for medical forensic evidence kits and strengthen the SAVE payment program so sexual assault survivors aren’t expected to pay the costs associated with their medical forensic exam.