Sexual assault victims are still paying thousands of dollars in hospital bills in Louisiana
Even though VAWA was amended in 2005 to include cost-free rape kits to survivors, Louisiana hospitals are still charging patients obscene amounts of money. As everyone knows, these kits have medical and legal merit that cannot be ignored. According to Rebecca Catalanello of NOLA.com and The Times-Picayune, victims are often returning to the ER with hospital bills ranging from a couple hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.
Many of these hospitals are ignoring the right to free testing that victims are entitled to, but in addition to hospitals being negligent, it shows that VAWA has blatant flaws. As Catalanello says, “VAWA covers the costs related to an examination of physical trauma, a determination of penetration or force, a patient interview and collection of evidence.” Because of this, hospitals are able to charge for extra tests including HIV, pregnancy and STD.
This is an absolute atrocity. For many people, going to the hospital in the first place can be a very difficult and terrifying decision to make, but to add on these insane costs will deter even more victims from coming forward.