GAO Study re Sexual Assault Exams

Good afternoon and Happy Monday!

AVA received a detailed email from Chris Hatscher, Senior Analyst with the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) last Friday.

After receiving the email, I also spoke on the phone with Chris at length about a project he/GAO is working on that is likely to involve each of you.

The VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2022 requires the GAO to conduct a study and to create a report on sexual assault medical forensic exam costs and funding.

Chris indicated that he has also spoken with a few people at OVW recently about this study.

Based on the email I received and the followup phone conversation, I believe that it is very likely that someone from GAO will also reach out to each of you over the upcoming weeks/months.

This is my understanding of what they are looking for from each state/territory:

  1. Data (for calendar years 2017 to 2021) on VAWA STOP grant funds spent on:

    – conducting sexual assault medical forensic exams
    – medical expenses relating to a sexual assault for which a victim receives a forensic exam (excluding the cost of the forensic exam)

  2. State/territory laws, policies, or best practices established to ensure that individuals are not billed for sexual assault forensic exams
  3. State/territory requirements regarding payment for other medical expenses and other ancillary costs relating to a sexual assault, such as the treatment of injuries.
  4. Any VAWA STOP grant funds spent in tribal communities or Indian reservations for exams and other medical expenses related to sexual assault, where applicable.

We do not have any additional information or knowledge about this study aside from what I have shared with you here but we promise to keep you posted if we learn anything more about this study and report.

I hope you all have a great week!