H. B. 3253
(By Delegates Sobonya, Poore, C. Miller,
Brown and Fleischauer)
[Introduced February 21, 2011; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §61-8B-19, relating to forensic-medical examination services for victims of sexual offenses.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §61-8B-19, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 8B. SEXUAL OFFENSES.
§61-8B-19. Forensic-medical examination services for victims of sexual offenses.
(a) Where a victim of sexual assault has been determined to be in need of emergency care by any person with admitting authority, no such person may be denied admission by reason only of his or her inability to pay for services to be rendered by the hospital.
(b) Every hospital of this state which offers emergency services shall provide that a physician, a sexual assault nurse examiner, who shall be a registered nurse licensed in this state and credentialed by the West Virginia Board of Nursing, or another qualified medical professional, is available on call twenty-four hours each day for the examinations of persons seeking treatment as victims of sexual offenses.
(c) An examination provided in accordance with this section of a victim of a sexual offense may be performed in a sexual assault examination facility. An examination under this section shall apply only to an examination of a victim.
(d) The physician, sexual assault nurse examiner, or other qualified medical professional, acting under a statewide medical forensic protocol, which shall be developed by administrative rule promulgated by the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Institute, shall, upon the request of any peace officer or prosecuting attorney, and with the consent of the victim, or upon the request of the victim, examine such person for the purposes of providing basic medical care relating to the incident and gathering samples that may be used as physical evidence. This examination shall include, but not be limited to:
(1) Basic treatment and sample gathering services; and
(2) Laboratory tests, as appropriate.
(e) Each victim shall be informed of available services for treatment of sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, and other medical and psychiatric problems. Pregnancy counseling shall not include abortion counseling or referral information.
(f) Each victim shall be informed of available crisis intervention or other mental health services provided by regional rape crisis centers providing services to victims of sexual assault.
(g) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a minor may consent to examination under this section. This consent is not subject to disaffirmance because of minority, and consent of the parents or guardians of the minor is not required for the examination.
(h) The sexual assault-forensic examinations (SAFE Exams) provided in accordance with this section and sexual assault examination kits shall be paid for by the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Institute, or by funding provided by legislative rule or appropriation of the legislature.
(i) (1) Each victim shall have the right to determine whether a report or other notification shall be made to law enforcement, except where reporting of abuse and neglect of a child, spouse, and other vulnerable adult is required. No victim may be denied an examination because the victim chooses not to file a police report, cooperate with law enforcement, or otherwise participate in the criminal justice system.
(2) (A) All samples collected during an exam where the victim has chosen not to immediately report to law enforcement shall be stored, released, and destroyed, if appropriate, in accordance with an administrative rule promulgated by the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Institute.
(B) Facilities collecting samples pursuant to this section may provide the required secure storage, sample destruction, and related activities, or may enter into agreements with other agencies qualified to do so, pursuant to administrative regulation.
(C) All samples collected pursuant to this section shall be stored for at least ninety days from the date of collection in accordance with the administrative regulation promulgated pursuant to this subsection.
(D) Samples collected during exams where the victim chose not to report immediately or file a report within ninety days after collection may be destroyed as set forth in accordance with the administrative regulation promulgated pursuant to this section. No hospital, sexual assault examination facility, or designated storage facility shall be liable for destruction of samples after the required storage period has expired.
(k) The provisions of this section control and supercede any provision in this article which conflicts with the provisions of this section.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide forensic-medical examination services for sexual assault victims.
§61-8B-19 is new; therefore, it has been completely underscored.