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Confidentiality for complainants/survivors

The law should prohibit the disclosure of information about specific cases of domestic violence by which it possible to identify individuals unless the complainant/survivor  has given fully informed consent after opportunity to receive advice from an advocate .  The only exception to the requirement that the complainant/survivor give informed consent for release of information should be for legally incompetent individuals such as children and the developmentally disabled.

Example: The Law of Philippines states:

Confidentiality. – All records pertaining to cases of violence against women and their children including those in the barangay shall be confidential and all public officers and employees and public or private clinics to hospitals shall respect the right to privacy of the victim. Whoever publishes or causes to be published, in any format, the name, address, telephone number, school, business address, employer, or other identifying information of a victim or an immediate family member, without the latter’s consent, shall be liable to the contempt power of the court. Section 44

Example: A program known as Safe at Home in Minnesota, USA allows survivors of domestic violence to protect the confidentiality of their home address by registering with the Secretary of State. They are provided with a post office box number and mail is forwarded to their home. The Secretary of State’s office becomes the participant’s agent for accepting mail and legal process

 

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