Hold Team Meetings . Monitor and Evaluate Your Efforts . Sustain Your SART . Know Your Team . Critical Issues
Conduct Case Reviews
Despite federal HIPAA laws and state statutes designed to protect victims' confidentiality, there can be numerous problems associated with the way information is disclosed during case reviews. Before you can conduct case reviews at your team meetings, the victims whose cases you would like to review must sign confidentiality waivers. Before they sign the waivers, make sure they know which information will be shared, who will have access to the information, if and how it will be recorded, and who is responsible for keeping the information secure. (For more information about waivers, go to Intentional Confidentiality Waivers in this toolkit.)
Ultimately, you'll need to consider the reasons for sharing victim information during case reviews, whether victims could be harmed or embarrassed by the information shared, and whether case reviews consistently stay within the parameters of the victims' authorized consent.
According to the President's DNA Initiative: A National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations—
Case reviews usually include only those SART members typically involved in immediate response. But, even if all or most SART members were involved in a particular case and were aware of victims' identity, there is still no reason to reveal victims' identity during SART case reviews. SARTs may choose not to take notes about cases reviewed to ensure that the case-related information is not shared with anyone outside of the meeting. In situations where victims' identity might be easily deduced during a case review by members not involved in response (e.g., if there had only been one case handled during the time period being reviewed), comments should be kept as broad as possible and avoid case specifics. In communities where residents tend to know each other and news about crime travels quickly, it may be challenging to not inadvertently reveal victims' [identity] during SART case reviews. SARTs in these jurisdictions should consider how to best approach case reviews in a way that reduces the likelihood of revealing victims' identity.
Source: Office on Violence Against Women, "Appendix B: Creation of Sexual Assault Response Teams (footnote 4)," President's DNA Initiative: A National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations, 2004.