ACLU-PA Position: Supports
HB 2032 would create an exemption for failure to report injuries under 18 § 5106(a)(2) (failure to report injuries by firearm or criminal act) when evidence of a sexual assault is obtained at a healthcare facility by a victim who wishes to make the report anonymously. The bill would also require the Pennsylvania State Police to conduct a feasibility study in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape to examine the resources required for rape kit testing.
Currently, the Sexual Assault Testing and Evidence Collection Act (Act 29 of 2019) gives assault victims the right to remain anonymous when seeking care through a forensic rape exam. Remaining anonymous is important to many victims of sexual violence, who may fear retaliation, further harm, or an invasion of their privacy and safety after an assault. However, this provision conflicts with current law under §5106, which mandates that providers, including forensic nurses, report identifying information to law enforcement when evidence of a crime is collected at a hospital or other healthcare facility.
HB 2032 would resolve this conflict by creating an exception to this mandatory reporting requirement in sexual assault cases where the victim wishes to remain anonymous. This is a reasonable and justifiable proposal to decriminalize failure to report injuries by victims whose privacy is already protected under Act 29.