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NCJRS Abstract

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  NCJ Number: NCJ 169588   Add to Shopping cart   Find in a Library
  Title: Confidentiality of Communications Between Sexual Assault or Domestic Violence Victims and Their Counselors: Findings and Model Legislation
  Document URL: PDF 
  Corporate Author: US Dept of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women
United States of America
  Date Published: 1995
  Page Count: 61
  Annotation: This report recommends to the U.S. Congress the Justice Department's proposed legislation regarding confidential communications between sexual-assault and domestic-violence victims and their counselors.
  Abstract: Sexual-assault and domestic-violence victims often receive counseling from persons who are not licensed psychologists or psychotherapists; thus, they lack the testimonial privilege afforded other professionals in most States. In too many cases, defense attorneys subpoena counseling records and call counselors as witnesses. The attorneys use the records to shift the court's focus from the crime to the victim's thoughts and comments regarding the crime. Often, victims face the threat that their most intimate feelings will be disclosed in open court and become a matter of public record. Sexual-assault and domestic-violence victims must be able to communicate freely with counselors, secure in the knowledge that the thoughts and feelings they reveal will not be publicized as a result of reporting the crime. The U.S. Department of Justice has studied the ways that States have protected communications between sexual-assault and domestic-violence victims and their counselors. Some States have enacted specific statutes that extend a testimonial privilege to sexual-assault and domestic-violence counselors, but State courts have vitiated some of these privileges. Other State courts have recognized these privileges even in the absence of legislation. This report presents two model statutes drafted by the Justice Department; they present alternative privileges in recognition of differences in the various States' constitutions, case law, and statutes.
  Main Term(s): Female victims
  Index Term(s): Counselors ; Model law ; Privileged communications ; Sexual assault victims ; Abused women ; Victim counseling
  Sale Source: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America

US Dept of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women
145 N. Street, NE
Washington, DC 20530
United States of America
  Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
  Country: United States of America
  Language: English
  Note: Report to Congress.
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