Bill introduced to lessen burden of rape victims

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Lawmakers Friday introduced a bill in Annapolis that would place the responsibility on Maryland hospitals to provided certified forensic nurses for victims of rape at all hours of the day. 

Under current law, rape survivors must check in and be subjected to forensic examinations by certified nurses that are only provided at a few Maryland hospitals

Failure to check in at the right hospita l could compromise prosecution against suspected rapists.

“The folks that fall through the cracks, their stories are incredibly compelling,” Del. Ariana Kelly (D-Montgomery), said. “There are people that could need seek justice because they ended up at one could call the wrong hospital.”

The bill would require hospitals to have an emergency room prepared for victims to check in at any hour of the day. The bill however doesn’t spell out a method, affording hospitals the opportunity to either train their own forensic examiners or work out a plan where train nurses would move from facility to facility.

“Other states bring forensic nurses to [victims],” Lisae Jordan, of the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault. “Other states don’t make patients move and that’s really all we’re saying. If you’re raped, you should be able to get an exam in an emergency room. Don’t move the patient. Move the medical care provider. Bring the medical care provider to the rape victim.”

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