ANCHORAGE – Gov. Tony Knowles recently signed legislation protecting victims of sexual assault from being billed for tests to collect evidence of the crime, but one local police chief said the new law will further burden taxpayers.
The governor signed House Bill 270, sponsored by Rep. Eric Croft, D-Anchorage, outside the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) exam room at Alaska Regional Hospital. In attendance at the signing were members of victims advocate groups, law enforcement agencies and legislators. […]
While the Alaska State Troopers and most municipal police agencies have covered the cost of exams, which cost between $300 to $1,200 apiece, the Wasilla police department does charge the victims of sexual assault for the tests.
Wasilla Police Chief Charlie Fannon does not agree with the new legislation, saying the law will require the city and communities to come up with more funds to cover the costs of the forensic exams.
In the past weve charged the cost of exams to the victims insurance company when possible. I just dont want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer, Fannon said.
According to Fannon, the new law will cost the Wasilla Police Department approximately $5,000 to $14,000 a year to collect evidence for sexual assault cases.
This is, to say the least, pretty fucking despicable. Both for the reasons you’d expect – it’s cruel, emblematic of the negative treatment survivors of sexual assault often receive – and for somewhat more systemic reasons: sexual assault is chronically underreported as it is, and requiring victims to pay the cost of their own rape kit incentivizes staying quiet over reporting the assault. So yeah, fuck you Sarah Palin for not having the decency to lift this ridiculous burden on survivors of sexual assault. Especially when you were more than willing to sink a few million dollars (and leave your town debt-ridden) into building an ill-thought “athletic center.”
Update: It turns out Jill already blogged this; that’s what I get for not paying more attention to the main page.
cross-posted at my blog
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