White House Task Force Report regarding confidentiality

This is a direct quote from the first report from White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. The report was issued on April 29, 2014.

“Someone a survivor can talk to in confidence:
While many victims of sexual assault are ready to file a formal (or even public) complaint against an alleged offender right away – many others want time and privacy to sort through their next steps. For some, having a confidential place to go can mean the difference between getting help and staying silent.

Today, we are providing schools with a model reporting and confidentiality protocol – which, at its heart, aims to give survivors more control over the process. Victims who want their school to fully investigate an incident must be taken seriously – and know where to report. But for those who aren’t quite ready, they need to have – and know about – places to go for confidential advice and support.

That means a school should make it clear, up front, who on campus can maintain a victim’s confidence and who can’t – so a victim can make an informed decision about where best to turn. A school’s policy should also explain when it may need to override a confidentiality request (and pursue an alleged perpetrator) in order to help provide a safe campus for everyone. Our sample policy provides recommendations for how a school can strike that often difficult balance, while also being ever mindful of a survivor’s well-being.

New guidance from the Department of Education also makes clear that on-campus counselors and advocates – like those who work or volunteer in sexual assault centers, victim advocacy offices, women’s and health centers, as well as licensed and pastoral counselors – can talk to a survivor in confidence. In recent years, some schools have indicated that some of these counselors and advocates cannot maintain confidentiality. This new guidance clarifies that they can.” (p2-3)



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