North Carolina Makes Rape Victims Pay for Forensic Testing
Via North Carolina’s News & Observer comes this story rape victims being charged for the forensic testing required to identify and convict rapists. This is an issue we’ve talked about in my home state of Tennessee previously. According to the story:
The vast majority of the 3,000 or so emergency room patients examined for sexual assaults each year shoulder some of the cost of a rape kit test, according to state records and victim advocates. For some, it’s as little as a $50 insurance co-payment. For those without insurance, it’s hundreds of dollars left when a state program designed to help reaches its limit.
An advocate from the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault smartly makes this point: “Rape victims are being treated differently than any other victim of crime. The county doesn’t charge me for fingerprinting if my house gets broken into.”
If the state or county did charge to investigate home burglaries or murders, I’m sure there would quickly be cries of unfairness and “all the justice you can afford.” If the law enforcement agencies and governments do not charge for processing evidence from any other crime scene, it’s difficult to justify doing so just because the crime is rape. This U.S. News blog entry makes a similar point, and notes that “Processing the evidence of a rape is complicated. But unless we can do a better job ensuring that rape victims don’t have to pay for that evidentiary exam, we’re victimizing them all over again.”
11/1/07: Updated Information on the Treatment of Nashville Rape Victims
6/21/07: On Treatment of Nashville Rape Victims, They Just Don’t Get It
5/30/07: Outrageous Treatment of Nashville Rape Victims