Privacy issues concern crime victims throughout the criminal justice process. Some victims, afraid of harassment or retaliation by offenders, may worry that who they are and where they live may be readily available through public records or court testimony. Fear about who might have access to victim impact statements, presentence reports, and compensation files may result in restrained responses and guarded participation by victims. Moreover, to cope with the complicated emotions that often accompany the physical injuries and trauma resulting from a crime, many victims turn to counseling, only to find that the personal thoughts they share may be disclosed during the trial. According to a report issued by the U.S. Department of Justices (DOJs) Violence Against Women Office (VAWO), the need to protect a crime victims confidential counseling communications is critical:
Several state legislatures have responded by enacting laws intended to protect the privacy of communications between victims and their counselors or therapists.