Bill aims to not have sex abuse victims file insurance claim to get a forensic exam

Posted at 5:54 PM, Jan 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-14 19:54:04-05

A Boise representative is proposing a bill that would no longer require victims of sexual assault to file an insurance claim to undergo a forensic exam. Sexual assault is the only crime in Idaho where the victim's insurance pays for forensic evidence collection. The state will cover any remaining costs after the insurance claim is settled.

Democrat Melissa Wintrow says victims of sexual assault have experienced enough trauma and having to file an insurance claim to seek justice adds to the hardship.

"Why are we only billing insurance for forensic exams," asked democrat representative Melissa Wintrow of Boise. "It's inappropriate, it's biased, and it creates an unfair barrier to an already difficult crime to report. So it decreases our reporting, and it decreases the accountability of perpetrators."

Wintrow also says billing a victim's insurance for a criminal justice process puts Idaho at risk of losing millions of dollars in federal grants. A hearing on the bill is expected to take place in the next two weeks.