If the victim has a cognitive disability and the caregiver is not appropriate to sign the release due to either being the abuser or having obvious bias to the abuser, who can authorize a release?
The most important thing is to figure out if the person even needs someone else to sign the release of information on his or her behalf, or if they can sign it themselves. Regardless of disability, the only time a guardian is allowed to sign a release for specific information is if the person with a disability has been legally adjudicated as unable to sign legal documents and the guardian has been court appointed.
The best practice is to ensure involvement of the survivor in all aspects, ensure that they are fully informed, and obtain proof of court-appointed guardianship. A person with a disability may have a caregiver and still be able to give consent themselves if there has not been a guardian appointed by the court. If the person has been found by a court to need a legal guardian and the guardian is a threat, then a new guardian needs to be appointed. ** Remember, the release is not to provide services, but to share the survivor’s information with other agencies in the community.**