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ANONYMOUS REPORTING OPTION

 

HB 3677 was passed in order to eliminate the requirement for law enforcement authorization prior to collection of a Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit. The passage of HB 3677 will put South Carolina in compliance with Federal Violence Against Women funding requirements, thereby ensuring that South Carolina continues to be eligible for monies granted to law enforcement agencies, solicitor offices, the courts and training programs.

 

Anonymous Reporting is the process by which a victim of sexual assault can choose not to make an official incident report to law enforcement, yet still have forensic evidence collected. Evidence will be stored for one year and victims may decide within those twelve months that they would like to pursue an investigation to determine if criminal charges can be filed based on sufficient evidence. Victim must note that not making an official incident report to law enforcement in a timely manner will prohibit law enforcement from surveying and collecting any evidence from the scene of the crime. This will also prohibit them from immediately speaking to any potential witnesses and/or suspect(s).

 

 

Policies/Procedures of Anonymous Reporting

Victims of a sexual assault can consent to a Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit anonymously and the cost of the kit will still be paid by the State Office of Victim Assistance (SOVA), even if a report is not made to law enforcement.

  • If a Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit is collected, the evidence will be stored by Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE) at Palmetto Health Richland FNE facility in a locked refridgerator.

  • The FNE coordinator will track names and other identifying factors of suspects. If the alleged suspect is reported by another victim, FNE personnel will ensure attempts are made to contact any other reporting victims.

  • The anonymous reporting victim can at anytime within the year after the assault request for the case to move forward, if no request is made by the victim, the victim will be contacted by a rape crisis advocate eleven months from the assault to determine if the victim would like to pursue an investigation.

    • If the victim does not wish to pursue, then the kit will be destroyed.

    • If the victim wishes to pursue an investigation, the FNE will notify law enforcement and with a signed consent form, can release the kit and medical records to law enforcement.

  • The victim will be given information on who to contact with law enforcement about making a formal statement and an investigation will follow.