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NCJ Number: 134552 Find in a Library
Title: Confidentiality in the Sexual Assault Victim/Counselor Relationship (From Rape and Sexual Assault III, P 211-219, 1991, Wolbert Burgess, ed. -- See NCJ-134540)
Author(s): M A Largen
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: Garland Publishing, Inc.
New York, NY 10003-3304
Sale Source: Garland Publishing, Inc.
19 Union Square
West Floor 8
New York, NY 10003-3304
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper describes the nature of the sexual assault victim and counselor relationship, the need to protect confidential communications between victims and counselors from criminal proceedings, and the results of a nationwide survey of State laws on sexual assault victim/counselor confidentiality.
Abstract: In the victim/counselor relationship, the victim must feel free to discuss matters that usually would not be discussed with others. The sexual assault victim/counselor relationship depends for its success upon the creation of an atmosphere in which embarrassing and painful information can be freed from conscious and unconscious censorship. Rape crisis centers, largely staffed by trained but unlicensed counselors, are a part of the growing mental health services system. Over the past decade, there has been a trend among State legislatures and the courts to confer a legal privilege on communications between many of these service providers and their clients. In conferring a privilege, lawmakers must determine whether the relationship meets the established criteria for privileged communications; i.e., the communication originates in confidence, confidentiality is essential to the maintenance of the relationship, and the relationship is one that society deems worthy of protecting. A survey of nationwide laws conducted in 1989 showed that 20 States had assigned privilege to sexual assault victim/counselor communications. The counselor may not, in most cases, waive the privilege without victim consent; however, in a few States the counselor is permitted to waive the privilege in the event that the victim brings suit against the counseling agency. 4 tables and 7 references
Main Term(s): Privileged communications; Rape counseling
Index Term(s): Sexual assault victims; State laws
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