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Trenton, NJ – Governor Chris Christie today signed legislation ensuring that sexual assault victims are not responsible for costs of forensic examinations. 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,” said Governor Christie. “This legislation ensures the needs of assault victims are met appropriately and without cost and that forensic evidence is collected and handled correctly.”
S-972 requires Victims of Crime Compensation Agency (VCCA) 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 of S-972 are Senators Diane B. Allen (R-Burlington, Camden) and James Beach (D-Camden) as well as Assemblymembers Annette Quijano (D-Union), Pamela R. Lampitt (D-Camden) Linda Stender (Middlesex, Somerset, Union), Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Linda R. Greenstein (Mercer, Midddlesex).