Confidentiality Institute
Protecting privacy. Securing safety.

Confidentiality Institute

Protecting privacy.  Securing safety.

Privacy is Key.

  • When violence survivors reach out for help, they still want control over what happens to their information – whether it is their identity, their location, or the details of their traumatic experience.  

  • A survivor-centered, trauma-informed response to violence respects the autonomy and privacy choices of people who have been harmed by someone else.

Confidentiality is the Law.

  • Federal law and most states require that victim service providers and healthcare systems protect the privacy of the people they serve.

  • But the laws can vary - “confidentiality” is a generic term with different legal requirements depending on your profession and your jurisdiction.

Confidentiality Institute can Help.

  • Anti-violence professionals face enormous challenges in creating effective policies that protect survivor privacy, facilitate productive collaboration, and comply with funder demands & legal requirements.

  • Confidentiality Institute offers unmatched expertise on a wide range of survivor privacy and organizational practice issues.

  • Confidentiality Institute will work with your organization or community collaboration to provide customized interactive training, on-call technical assistance, and localized toolkits to promote best practices.


Upcoming events

Confidentiality Institute events (pictured above) are interactive, entertaining, and hands on. Photo by Mariah Karson.

Confidentiality Institute events (pictured above) are interactive, entertaining, and hands on. Photo by Mariah Karson.


Survivor Confidentiality Under Federal & Alabama Law
Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence
September 20, 2018, by webinar

Custody Litigation Institute: Representing Victims of Domestic Violence in Custody Cases
ABA Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence
September 26-27, 2018, Orlando, FL
Registration information



Institute News & Confidentiality Developments

2018 Sharon L. Corbitt Award winner

Confidentiality Institute Director Alicia Aiken, JD, has been named the 2018 Sharon L. Corbitt Award winner. The ABA Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence created this award in 2008 to recognize service by lawyers from all areas of practice who demonstrate exemplary service to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and/or stalking.  As a 21 year old law student, Alicia Aiken began working directly with violence survivors at University of Michigan’s Family Law Project. Soon after, she began teaching others to make sense of the laws around gender violence as an Instructor at Michigan, and started working with Confidentiality Institute’s Founder, Hon. Julie Kunce Field, to build a survivor-centered approach to representing clients.  Ms. Aiken has been doing different versions of teaching about and representing survivors ever since. She is honored (and a little flabbergasted) to be recognized by the ABA and to be included in a group with the awe-inspiring people who have received the Sharon L. Corbitt Award in the past.


VOCA Adopts VAWA Confidentiality Standards

As of August 2016, the confidentiality requirements for protecting violence survivor privacy are the same for organizations receiving funding to help victims under the Victim of Crime Act and the Violence Against Women Act.   This is great news for organizations looking to provide the best possible services to violence survivors and to implement consistent privacy practices. For a detailed look at the actual confidentiality rules, take a look at the confidentiality provisions in VAWA, the 2016 regulations on implementation of the VAWA confidentiality provisions, and the 2016 VOCA regulations adopting the VAWA confidentiality rule for recipients of VOCA Victim Assistance funds.  For questions about implementing the confidentiality rules well, contact us for technical assistance.




Illinois Appellate Court Reaffirms Domestic Violence Advocate Privilege in Illinois

Thanks to the principled practice of Sarah’s Inn, their courageous Executive Director, Carol Gall, and their intrepid pro bono attorneys, Joy Airaudi and Baker McKenzie’s Michael McCutcheon & Eileen Flynn, the Illinois Appellate Court issued a detailed decision in People v. Sevedo prohibiting a trial court from punishing a domestic violence program when it refused to share records about its work with a survivor.  “Privilege” means that neither attorneys nor a court can force a survivor (or their advocate) to disclose confidential communications and records. Illinois has one of the strongest statutes in the country protecting communications between victims and domestic violence advocates or rape crisis workers. Confidentiality Institute is proud to say that this pro bono connection was made and supported through our ABA Subpoena Defense Project.  Are you interested in being a pro bono attorney for a victim service provider with a subpoena? Are you a provider in need of pro bono help on a subpoena? Contact us to talk about what’s possible.