Put the Focus on Victims
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Address Specific Concerns


Although all victims of crime have the right to confidentiality, victims of sexual violence have a pronounced interest in privacy. For example, victims of sexual violence have a deep need for autonomy and for control over their bodies, the private details of their lives, and the decisions they must make relative to the assault (including when or whether to report).13

Consider the following policies to protect victims' confidentiality:

  • Prevent victims' names, addresses, telephone numbers, and personal identification information from being publicized.
  • Establish relationships with victims based on trust, respect, and informed consent. Victims must understand the difference between a general desire to keep certain information private and statutory privileges governed by state/federal/tribal regulations. For example, privacy protections may be found in state or federal statutes, tribal codes, campus codes of conduct, administrative regulations, court rules, and state or federal constitutions.14
  • Proactively address privacy rules and regulations, evidentiary privileges and waivers, and state and federal constitutional rights (including crime victims' rights amendments and statutes).
  • The Right Tool

    Victims' Rights and Services Project Find state-specific statutes regarding victim issues.

  • Let victims know how privileged communications may be waived and the consequences of a waiver. For example, you could describe the types of records and information that may be at risk for exposure: counseling documents, medical records, employment information, school/education records, residential/professional information, and documents pertaining to personal property.