Springfield City Council approves waiving incident report fees for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault
The Springfield City Council approved a bill to waive incident report fees for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault Monday night. This allows victims to obtain a copy of their report for free.
Janice Gerhke came up with the idea. She was a victim of domestic violence. Now she fights on behalf of other victims.
"I had a lady reach out to me and she was a survivor of sexual assault," Gerhke said. "She was asking me questions and I said, 'have you ever looked at your report?' She said, 'no.' I said, 'well this is how you do it.' She came back to me later that day and said they wanted to charge her for it. I guess I had never put it in my mind that you know victims of sexual assault would have to pay for that too."
The fee is just a couple of dollars. However, Gerhke believes that could be a barrier preventing victims from reporting crimes.
Gerhke partnered with Me Too Springfield to share her concerns.
"Waiving this fee is just one thing that the city can do to make survivors feel more comfortable and also give more transparency," Sarah Bargo, Me Too Springfield Secretary, said. "We are very proud of the city. The fact that we are not only listened to but we've been given a seat at the table is just great because our organization is made up of hundreds of survivors."
"Any survivor of this knows that the city is here and that there is going to be a lot of us out here we are going to be working to help them," Gerhke said.
Fees for other police reports still remain in effect.