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Confidentiality

Confidentiality is key to keeping victims of domestic violence and their families safe and represents the cornerstones of all successful domestic violence crisis centers.  DVP-funded crisis center advocates and volunteers must understand the laws, rules, and requirements regarding confidentiality in Colorado. 

 

On this page you can find information about:

 

Colorado Revised Statute

DVP requires that all programs funded wholly or in part by DVP adhere to Section 13-90-107 of the Colorado Revised Statute: Who may not testify without consent:

 

(k) (I) A victim's advocate shall not be examined as to any communication made to such victim's advocate by a victim of domestic violence, as defined in section 18-6-800.3 (1), C.R.S., or a victim of sexual assault, as described in sections 18-3-401 to 18-3-405.5, 18-6-301, and 18-6-302, C.R.S., in person or through the media of written records or reports without the consent of the victim.

(II) For purposes of this paragraph (k), a "victim's advocate" means a person at a battered women's shelter or rape crisis organization or a comparable community-based advocacy program for victims of domestic violence or sexual assault and does not include an advocate employed by any law enforcement agency:

(A) Whose primary function is to render advice, counsel, or assist victims of domestic or family violence or sexual assault; and

(B) Who has undergone not less than fifteen hours of training as a victim's advocate or, with respect to an advocate who assists victims of sexual assault, not less than thirty hours of training as a sexual assault victim's advocate; and

(C) Who supervises employees of the program, administers the program, or works under the direction of a supervisor of the program.

 

DVP Rules re: Confidentiality

12.201.2 Confidentiality Requirements [Rev. eff. 8/1/09]

 

A.      All staff and volunteers of programs funded wholly or in part by the DVP that provide direct services to victims of domestic violence and their dependants must receive fifteen (15) or more hours of domestic violence-related training, per Section 13-90-107 C.R.S.  Training shall minimally address the following topics:

1)     Crisis intervention skills;

2)     Community resources available to victims of domestic violence and their dependants;

3)     The dynamics of abusive relationships;

4)     Advocacy and safety planning skills;

5)     Domestic violence-related laws;

6)     Child abuse reporting; and,

7)     Cultural competency.

B.      All information pertaining to victims of domestic violence and their dependants shall be confidential, as is prescribed by Section 13-90-107, C.R.S., including, but not limited to, the following types of communications:

1)     Client and case file records;

2)     Data collection systems;

3)     Client meeting notes;

4)     Communication logs;

5)     Counseling notes;

6)     Communications through a translator; or,

7)     Any other documents or materials produced by the program containing personally identifying victim information.

C.      Funded programs shall develop a written policy regarding confidential communications. The written policy shall minimally include:

1)     Use of written, dated, time-limited releases of information to include informed consent;

2)     General record keeping policies and procedures including document retention and destruction policies;

3)     Victims’ rights to access their individual case records;

4)     Staff and volunteer access to client files;

5)     Staff, volunteer, and board member confidentiality agreements; and,

6)  Notifications of limitations on confidentiality to minimally include reporting of known or suspected child abuse or neglect, or danger to self or others.

 

Limitations to Confidentiality

There are very few limitations to confidentiality.  These limitations include the reporting of known or suspected child abuse or neglect and danger to self or others.  For more information for each limitation, click on it below.

Danger to Self or Others 

Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting

 

Responding to Law Enforcement & Subpoenas

There is always the possibility of law enforcement involvement in DVP-funded programs due to emergency situations, crimes committed in shelter, and even the limitations to confidentiality.  There is also the possibility of a program’s records being subpoenaed by the legal system.  It is important to have strong policies/protocols/procedures for these issues for your program in order to best protect the confidentiality of the victims you serve.  Below are samples of policies/protocols/procedures for responding to law enforcement and subpoenas.

            Responding to Law Enforcement Sample Policy 1

            Responding to Law Enforcement Sample Policy 2

            Responding to Subpoenas Sample Policy

 

Templates

 

Confidentiality Policy Sample 2  

Confidentiality Policy Sample 3

Client Release of Information 

 

Other Resources

Battered Women’s Justice ProjectConfidentiality: An Advocate’s Guide

National Network to End Domestic Violence

    – Confidentiality Tool Kit

    – U.S. Federal Laws & Confidentiality for Survivors

Child Welfare Information Gateway

County List to Report Child Abuse

 

For more information on Confidentiality, visit www.nnedv.org