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NCJ Number: 136435 Find in a Library
Title: Existing Confidentiality Privileges as Applied to Rape Victims
Journal: Journal of Law and Health  Volume:5  Issue:1  Dated:(1990-1991)  Pages:101-142
Author(s): B M McCafferty
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 42
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Rape victims are denied the confidentiality due them when their rape-crisis center records are admitted into evidence and scrutinized in court. This type of procedure demonstrates the courts' inclination to place a presumption of fault on the victim.
Abstract: The therapeutic setting of the rape-crisis center, in which the victim begins her recovery and establishes a healing relationship with her therapist, is contrasted to the courtroom setting, in which the victim must deal with the underlying assumption that the sexual assault was consensual. The court must consider two competing concerns when deciding whether to admit the records into evidence: the defendant's right of confrontation with the right to compel testimony and the victim's right to privacy. Some situations are analogous to that of the rape-crisis center: a waiver of privilege by the patient-litigant exception and various recognized testimonial privileges. This article examines the constitutionality of admitting mental health records into evidence for both child and adult victims, and it analyzes the special considerations surrounding a confidentiality privilege including evidentiary concerns and the courts' application of various types of privileges. The author urges State legislatures to protect the confidentiality privilege of rape victims by mandating a uniform privilege through statute. 336 notes
Main Term(s): Confidential records access; Sexual assault victims
Index Term(s): Rape crisis centers; Right of privacy; Rules of evidence
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