Fountain Valley News - Your Hometown Community Newspaper

HB17-1322 Gives Victims of Domestic Violence Greater Access to Healthcare

 


New Law Will Expand Options For Victims Needing Medical Care For Injuries Resulting From Domestic Violence

DENVER - House Bill 17-1322 , which has passed out of both chambers of the Colorado General Assembly, with bipartisan support, is now on its way to the Governor’s desk for signature. Working with proponents in the domestic violence advocacy community, including the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence, lawmakers sought to give victims more autonomy by allowing them to decide whether or not to report injuries to law enforcement after seeking medical care.

Current law requires any licensed physician, physician assistant, or anesthesiologist assistant (licensee) who attends or treats any of certain injuries, including injuries resulting from domestic violence, to report the injury at once to the police, regardless of their patient’s wishes. This dated practice has now been well researched and has been found to actually jeopardize a victim’s safety.

Says one survivor, who testified in the House Judiciary Committee hearing, “I was punched in the mouth, fell, hurt my knee, ankle, and chipped my tooth. I knew I needed medical services right away but was in fear of medical professionals contacting the police...I had no where to go with my daughter, I had no money, no car and the only job I was allowed to have was one taking care of his mother who had Alzheimer’s. I knew if this was reported I would have to fear for my life. I was told over and over if I ever reported my abuse and he went to jail he would get out and kill me and anyone who was with me.”

HB17-1322 creates a solution, by allowing medical professionals to work with their patients to access medical care and additional resources, regardless of an adult patients’ choice to participate within the criminal justice system. Victims need time to create a plan for their safety, which may include finding housing, protecting children from abuse or abduction, speaking to an advocate or attorney, and creating a plan for financial self-sufficiency.

“This bill restores personal autonomy to victims and allows medical professionals to listen to and respect the wishes of their patients.” explained bill sponsor Representative Lois Landgraf.

Representative Lois Landgraf serves the citizens of House District 21 located in the southern part of El Paso County, Colorado. Sitting at the base of beautiful Cheyenne Mountain, looking out on magnificent Pikes Peak, HD 21 includes the City of Fountain, and unincorporated Fort Carson, Rock Creek Park and Security-Widefield.

More information about Representative Landgraf at http://loislandgraf.us/

 

Reader Comments
(0)

 
 

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2017

Rendered 05/17/2017 21:54