Frequently Asked Questions

This section provides an overview on questions that commonly come up concerning confidentiality releases, U.S. Federal Laws on confidentiality, record retention and deletion, mandatory reporting, the use of surveillance cameras, answering subpoenas and much more. For ease, this section is set up in an easy-to-read question and answer format.

Clery Act & VAWA Confidentiality

What is the Clery Act?

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery) 20 USC § 1092(f) requires all colleges and universities that participate in U.S. federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their respective campuses.

The Clery Act requires college and university campuses to report crime data, which could include domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Does Clery require a campus-based victim advocacy agency to report victim information?

No. A victim in a college or university community still has the same confidentiality protections as someone outside of the campus setting. In terms of confidentiality, the strongest and most protective law is what should be followed. First, Clery does not require victim advocates or counselors to report criminal activity or any victim information to college or university officials. Second, Clery does not override VAWA/FVPSA confidentiality provisions, so if a campus‐based program receives VAWA or FVPSA funds, it is required to follow those federal confidentiality provisions. Third, in some states, your state victim advocate confidentiality laws protections may apply to campus‐based victim advocacy programs.

What provisions of Clery should I look at to better understand why non‐security personnel are not required to report?

Even before VAWA provisions specified that personally identifying victim information shall not be disclosed, Clery regulations created similar protections. As clarified by the commentary, 64 Fed. Reg. at 59063 (Nov. 1, 1999), Clery regulations do not require counselors, pastors, individual faculty, physicians, or any other non‐security personnel to report crime statistics. Rape crisis and domestic violence counselors, even those paid by the college or university, are not campus security authorities and are thus not required to report criminal activity. By way of comparison, many campuses offer students prepaid legal services. If a student client tells a legal services attorney about a criminal act either committed by the student or of which the student is a victim, the legal services attorney is under no obligation to violate attorney‐client privilege and reveal that confidential communication. Clery neither requires nor encourages breaches of privilege or confidentiality.

Do campus security authorities have to report personally identifying victim information?

No. Even those campus security authorities who are required to report crime statistics are prohibited from reporting victim identifying information. 34 CFR 668.46(c)(5). The commentary on the regulations noted that "although reporting a statistic is not likely, of itself, to identify the victim, the need to verify the occurrence of the crime and the need for additional information about the crime to avoid double counting can lead to identification of the victim." 64 Fed. Reg. at 59063 (Nov. 1, 1999). The 1999 Clery regulations promote victim privacy rights in a way that is consistent with the later more specific confidentiality provisions in VAWA 2005, Section 3 and FVPSA 2010.