National Indian Country Clearinghouse on Sexual Assault

left barConfidentiality

Written confidentiality forms for victims advocacy agencies generally include the following:


conf1 A list of the specific information that the victim authorizes the advocate or agency to disclose


conf1 A list of persons or agencies that can receive the specific, confidential information from the advocate and/or her agency


conf1 A signature line for the victim to sign (after reading the form and discussing it thoroughly with her advocate)


conf1 An expiration date after which no information may be disclosed absent the signing of a new form


conf1 Notice that the victim can rescind her permission to disclose information at any time, if she chooses.


Victim Advocate Confidentiality in Indian Country


Victim-advocate confidentiality is crucial to advancing safety and justice for American Indian/Alaska Native victims of sexual violence. The “golden rule” on confidentiality for victim advocates is:


A client’s information is not to be shared outside of the victim advocate’s agency unless the client gives the agency express permission to do so.


It is important to remember that concerns about confidentiality do not arise when the victim grants an advocate express permission or gives her specific consent to disclose sensitive information.

When advocating for a victim with law enforcement or with other agencies, it is important for the victim advocate to have a clear understanding of the scope of information where permission for disclosure has been given. Utilizing a signed, written confidentiality form for your agency is the simplest way to provide notice to the victim of the type of information that can be disclosed.




Victim advocacy organizations should also maintain an agency wide, written confidentiality policy.  This policy should address the most common issues regarding confidentiality and disclosure.  It should also provide guidance when faced with a difficult situation such as mandatory child abuse reporting or responding to a court order such as a subpoena.


Victim advocates frequently play a critical role in the criminal justice process. Victim advocate should not reveal any information to prosecutors, law enforcement, or defense attorneys unless the advocate receives:


1.) Express consent from the victim


2.) A court order


3.) A subpoena accompanied by either a court order or “satisfactory assurances”


4.) A discovery request accompanied by either a court order or “satisfactory assurances.” 


The "satisfactory assurance" requirement can be fulfilled either through a “Notice to Consumer” document or, in the alternative, a written statement demonstrating that:


conf1 The requesting party made a good faith attempt to provide written notice to the victim


conf1 The notice included sufficient information about the judicial proceeding to permit the victim to raise an objection in court


conf1 The time for the victim to raise objections to the court elapsed without the victim filing an objection


Statutes - (1)

Additional Resources - (1)

Protocols - (5)

Legal Pleadings and Forms - (2)


Full Publication List



Featured Publications


18 U.S.C. § 1169


18 U.S.C. § 1169


This statute is a mandatory reporting statute. This statute imposes a federal duty to report child abuse or suspected child abuse in Indian Country. Failure to comply with this statute can result in federal incarceration.



Confidentiality Laws


Confidentiality Laws


This table provides a summary of confidentiality laws categorized by states, including the type of privilege, In-camera review, statutory exception, defense claims, perjured statements, other exceptions, and the holder of privilege.



Documenting Domestic Violence: How Health Care Providers Can Help Victims, Research in Brief (September 2001)


Documenting Domestic Violence: How Health Care Providers Can Help Victims, Research in Brief (September 2001)


This NIJ Research in Brief outlines how health care providers can improve the admissibility of evidence and strengthen the case of domestic violence victims by keeping well-documented medical records.



Recurrent Confidentiality Agreement


Recurrent Confidentiality Agreement




National Indian Country Clearinghouse on Sexual Assault, a project by the Southwest Center for Law and Policy © 2019

This project was supported by  Grant No. 2011-TA-AX-K045 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women. Points of view in this document are those of the author and do not necessary represent the official position of the U.S. Department of Justice. All rights reserved. | Privacy policy   Login