Victim Confidentiality Considerations For Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Programs When Responding to Rare or Emergency Situations
A wide range of situations can arise for programs providing services to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Given the complex and critical safety issues faced by victims, programs should have policies to address victim safety and confidentiality in unusual or emergency circumstances. Examples of special situations that might arise include: medical and other emergencies; instances where a victim/client (or the victim’s child) commits a crime while accessing or using services; and, situations where a victim brings civil or criminal claims against another client or the agency. Programs/agencies should practice best confidentiality and safety practices in each special circumstance that arises. This piece highlights what programs need to know about confidentiality and discusses how programs can respond in: (A) medical or emergency situations; (B) crime or other claim against a victim advocacy program; and (C) a crime or other claim by one survivor against another survivor using program services.