Technology & Confidentiality Toolkit

Why Confidentiality?

For any victim service agency or community organization working with survivors of domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, maintaining confidentiality is paramount to preserving the safety, privacy, and trust of those seeking services. When survivors seek services, they take huge personal risks. If an abuser should discover that a victim is seeking services, the abuse could increase in frequency and severity. There can also be potential societal and personal repercussions from being identified as a victim, such as housing or job discrimination. Even without these concerns, the experiences of any survivor are theirs and they should be in complete control over their privacy and who knows their story. Minimizing the risks to victims is an integral part of providing services to survivors.

Because survivor privacy is so critical to safety, several federal laws include privacy and confidentiality provisions and most states prohibit the disclosure of victim information. Victim service providers in the United States who are receiving federal funds have some of the strongest confidentiality obligations that exist in the country. This toolkit is designed to provide details to providers about those obligations and how to navigate the complexities that arise when collaborating with other agencies and using technologies. 

Who Can Use This Toolkit?

This toolkit was created to assist non-profit victim service organizations and programs, co-located partnerships, coordinated community response teams, and innovative partnerships of victim service providers working to address domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. This toolkit is meant to help providers and agencies understand and follow the confidentiality obligations mandated by the funding they receive through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), and related state and federal privacy laws.

FAQs

This section provides an overview on questions that commonly come up concerning confidentiality releases, federal laws on confidentiality, the collection and maintenance of survivor data, when and how survivor information should be shared, and more.

TIPSHEETS & CHARTS

The following handouts were created to provide safety and confidentiality tips as well as information that highlight considerations about technology use by agencies and collaborations serving victims. These are meant to help your agency navigate complex and nuanced topics.

Templates

These template forms, policies, and agreements have been created for non-profit victim service agencies, advocates, and partnerships to adapt and use when they provide services to survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Programs can adapt these templates to meet the needs of their organization; however, please keep in mind that changes should be minimal and the purpose or intent of the template should not be altered.

Click here to find the template that best suits your needs.  

Additional Resources

+VAWA 2013:

+FVPSA 2015:

+Clery Act:

+HIPAA:

+FERPA: