The information obtained from a rape exam can be divided into two categories — medical information and criminal justice information. If a rape victim chooses not to report the crime at the time of the rape exam, the information obtained during the exam is classified as medical information. The privacy of medical information is protected by federal and state law. Once a rape victim decides to report the crime the information becomes confidential criminal justice information and is protected by a different set of state privacy laws:
Montana law requires healthcare providers to notify law enforcement in certain cases involving possible criminal activity. The following statutes describe situations that require mandatory reporting:
NOTE:Outside of the special circumstances listed above, cases involving sexual assault and sexual intercourse without consent DO NOT require mandatory reporting. Victims of these crimes should be strongly encouraged to report the incident to law enforcement, but ultimately it is their decision to make. Find out more about options for victims who are undecided or choose not to report at the time of the rape exam.
The term “rape” is not used in the Montana Code Annotated (MCA). Instead, the crimes usually thought of as rape are divided into the crimes of “sexual assault” and “sexual intercourse without consent.”
The state of Montana is committed to the policy that rape victims should not have to pay for the cost of forensic rape exams (MCA 46-15-41). See Rape Exam Payment for information about state programs that provide payment to cover the cost of rape exams.