DHDTC DAL 18-07: Sexual Offense Evidence Collected by Hospitals

April 16, 2018

Dear Chief Executive Officer:

As you may know, a new statutoryprovision within the New York State Budget requires that all sexual offense evidence collected by hospitals be kept in a locked, separate and secure area for 20 years from the date of collection. Hospitals are responsible for ensuring long term storage of the evidence until April 1, 2021, unless the state determines that transfer to a different location is feasible before such date. See L. 2018, S.7507-C, Part HH, Section 2 (a copy has been attached for your convenience), amending Public Health Law (PHL) § 2805-i. This storage requirement is significantly longer than what was required under the previous law, which provide that hospitals must store sexual offense evidence for only 30 days.

Please be advised that the requirement that hospitals ensure long term storage of sexual offense evidence until April 1, 2021 includes any evidence that was already in storage as of April 12, 2018 - the date that the new law took effect. In other words, sexual offense evidence that was collected on or after March 13, 2018 and that was in the hospital's possession on April 12, 2018 is subject to the new, longer storage requirements.

Hospitals can contract with another entity to provide long term storage of sexual assault evidence, pursuant to PHL § 2805-i(2)(d). Before entering into such an agreement, hospitals must develop policies and procedures that determine how security, appropriate storage and chain of custody of the evidence will be maintained. Please review the New York State Department of Health (Department) regulation concerning contract provisions, found at 10 NYCRR 400.4, before entering into any contractual agreement.

The Department also recommends that hospitals consult "A National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations: Adults/Adolescents" and "A National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations: Pediatrics" for best practices concerning all aspects of sexual assault assessment and treatment, including storage. These protocols are found at https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ovw/241903.pdf and https://www.justice.gov/ovw/file/846856/download respectively.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

If you have any questions about the requirements of the law, please submit questions to https://apps.health.ny.gov/surveyd8/email-hospdtc.


Ruth Leslie
Division of Hospitals and Diagnostic & Treatment Centers