exam table

CHICAGO – Survivors of rape often don’t seek medical care out of fear a parent or abuser could find out. State Senator Julie Morrison championed a newly signed law to provide survivors with greater safety and peace of mind.

“The trauma associated with sexual assault is already profound – the last thing survivors need is the added stress of a lack of privacy and confidentiality,” said Morrison (D-Lake Forest). “This law will allow people to feel more secure in seeking a rape exam.”

Morrison’s law allows sexual assault survivors to access to related health care services free-of-charge for 180 days after their initial medical forensic exam – allowing them to forgo billing their private insurance. Many survivors fear receiving medical help following a sexual assault because they’re worried their insurance policy holder – a parent or spouse, for example – will find out.

Far too often, people in abusive relationships are assaulted by their spouse or guardian, who happens to be the primary insurer. Without a guarantee of confidentiality and fearing insurance records would disclose the exam, many survivors don’t seek assistance.

“This bill provides survivors with more options during their difficult times,” said Monika Pitzele, MD., PHD. “By allowing them to opt out from using private insurance, it will increase access to care for those concerned for their privacy or confidentiality. It will also provide better health care by extending the duration of the voucher for follow up visits and treatments.”

Senate Bill 3023 was signed into law Thursday.