TRENTON – Legislation that ensures victims of sexual assault don’t have to bear the costs of forensic examinations has been signed into law.
Gov. Chris Christie today signed S972, which addresses what its sponsors see as a cruel injustice. Currently, each county provides forensic examinations by a physician or certified forensic sexual assault nurse examiners.
“Sexual assault is a violent crime and its victims must be treated with respect and compassion,” Christie said in a release. “This legislation ensures the needs of assault victims are met appropriately and without cost and that forensic evidence is collected and handled correctly.”
The bill requires the Victims of Crime Compensation Agency to revise their crime victim booklets to state that victims of sexual assaults will not be charged any fees for services associated with a forensic sexual assault examination. Services associated with these exams include routine medical screenings, medications for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy tests.
In addition, the nurse examiner coordinator must now develop procedures to ensure victims do not incur costs associated with their exams.
The legislation takes effect immediately.
Sponsors included Sens. Diane B. Allen, (R-7), Burlington, James Beach, (D-6), Camden, and Sen. Linda R. Greenstein (D-14), Monroe, as well as Assembly members Annette Quijano, (D-20), Union, Pamela R. Lampitt, (D-6), Camden, Linda Stender, (D-22), Scotch Plains, and Valerie Vainieri Huttle, (D-37), Bergen.