Forensic Medical Examination Fund
The Violence Against Women Act provides that each state must have a method to pay the cost of forensic medical examinations for victims of sexual assault. In accordance with this mandate, the West Virginia Forensic Medical Examination Fund was created by the West Virginia Legislature and is contained in WV Code Section 61-8B-1 and WV Code Section 61-8B-15 through 18. Prior to the establishment of the Forensic Examination Fund, West Virginia had no specific mechanism to pay for this type of examination.
In accordance with statutory provisions creating the WV Forensic Medical Examination Fund, the WV Prosecuting Attorneys Institute was charged with the responsibility of administering the Fund and providing reimbursement to licensed medical facilities performing forensic medical examinations. The Fund is restricted to the payment of all reasonable and customary costs of a forensic medical examination, which must be conducted within a reasonable time of the alleged violation.
The legislation provides that following the forensic medical examination, the medical facility shall submit a statement of charges to the prosecuting attorney of the county in which the alleged offense occurred as well as a duplicate invoice to the Prosecuting Attorneys Institute. The Prosecuting Attorneys Institute will assume responsibility for collecting the required Certifications from the county prosecutors. Thereafter, the WV Prosecuting Attorneys Institute shall pay from the Forensic Medical Examination Fund all appropriate costs.
The main objective of the Forensic Medical Examination Fund is to provide payment for forensic medical examinations in sexual assault cases. Additional benefits include providing a more effective prosecution of persons alleged to have committed a sexual assault as well as protecting the rights and dignities of victims of sexual assault.