Some victims of sexual assault have to pay for ER care themselves

[anvplayer video=”5135197″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Some victims of sexual assault are paying out-of-pocket for their emergency room care, even though federal law requires that their forensic exams be free.

In a letter to the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, a group of doctors and researchers calculated the cost of emergency department visits for survivors of sexual violence. They used data gathered from 2019, and found that out of nearly 113,000 emergency visits that year related to sexual violence, 16 percent resulted in out-of-pocket costs for the survivors. In those cases, the average cost of care was more than $3,500 per person.           

The Violence Against Women Act stipulates that people cannot be charged for a forensic exam after a sexual assault. However, some medical services, such as emergency contraception, or treatment for sexually transmitted infections, are not covered under the act.