Towards Thriving Cover

February 10, 2022

legislative bill with magnifying glass

Idaho Advocate Confidentiality Legislation

Survivors seeking the domestic and sexual violence advocacy services are doing so at great personal risk; they are typically in danger or have experienced physical or sexual violence and need a safe place to disclose and to share, so service providers can provide the best possible resources to help them. Maintaining confidentiality is paramount to preserve the safety, privacy and trust of those seeking services.

The Idaho Coalition is working with Senator Melissa Wintrow and key stakeholders to support and pass legislation for Idaho advocate confidentiality. The proposed bill aligns state and federal law. Community and tribal domestic and sexual violence programs receive federal funds and are required to maintain confidentiality in communications. When divorce attorneys and others attempt to get information from domestic and sexual violence programs, programs have to divert limited resources for victim services to hire attorneys to quash these requests, which is a waste of time and resources when the resources could be better used to support survivor safety and healing.

The proposed legislation states: “A person employed by or volunteering at a non-governmental domestic or sexual violence program shall not, without the written and signed consent of the recipient of services, be required to or compelled to disclose any communication made between the person in the course of employment or volunteer services for the domestic or sexual violence program and a recipient of the program’s services or to disclose information or records about a recipient of the services of a domestic or sexual violence program, provided that disclosure of communications during or as part of court proceedings is subject to the rules of the Idaho supreme court.”

    • “For purposes of this section: “Recipient” means any individual who has received or inquired about receiving services or assistance from a domestic or sexual violence program, including shelter, advocacy, counseling, or other services offered by a domestic or sexual violence program.”
    • “Domestic or sexual violence program” means any nonprofit, non-governmental, or private entity or tribe or tribal organization, that has as its primary purpose the operation of shelters or supportive services for victims of domestic or sexual violence and their dependents or counseling, advocacy, or self-help services to victims of domestic or sexual violence.”

Confidentiality has long been a core element of effective domestic and sexual violence advocacy. In recent years, a number of laws have been amended to officially recognize the duty of advocates to practice confidentiality; specifically the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA).

Many state statutes have also been amended or passed. Formal legal recognition of confidentiality reinforces the long-standing ethical duty to protect survivor control over personal information. Strong confidentiality practices protect survivor privacy, and those confidentiality practices are now enshrined in federal and state laws. Idaho is one of the few states where the current law does not address advocate confidentiality, so advocates draw on other sources of support to implement best confidentiality practices.

Please call and/or email your Idaho legislators and share how important an advocate confidentiality bill is to enhance the safety, privacy and trust of survivors seeking services. You can search your legislator here: https://legislature.idaho.gov/legislators/contactlegislators/

This article was written by Kelly Miller and Annie Hightower

Kelly Miller
kelly@engagingvoices.org

 

 

 

Training & Events

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month Challenge| February 1- February 28, 2022, All Day

Starting February 1, teens and youth are invited to submit any art form answering the question “What are the qualities of a healthy relationship?” Post your submission on social media by February 28 and tag @NativeLoveIs or email nativelove@niwrc.org with your submission for a chance to win a prize pack from NativeLove and NIWRC! Learn more here!


Rez Dating| Wed, February 16, 2022| 1:00-2:30 pm MT

In recognition of National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM), the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) is inviting you to join this webinar to learn about what “teen dating” violence is, why it happens and where to go for help if you or a friend are experiencing it. This discussion will include the intersection of intergenerational trauma and the modern occurrence of dating and intimate partner violence in Indian Country. Exploring healthy relationships and boundaries from an Indigenous perspective is also an important part of this presentation. The presenter, Lexie James, a young Hopi activist, will share her lived experiences and how she navigated them. Register Here!


Connecting: Suicide, Interpersonal Violence, and the Military Community| Thurs, February 17, 2022| 9:00- 10:30 am MT

Join Dr. Elizabeth Gray, LCSW, CADCI,CA for a discussion on the connections between suicide and violence within the military community.

Join the NOVA/NCVLI team as we welcome Dr. Elizabeth Gray for an interactive discussion on the various connections between suicide and violence, and how this relates to the military community.

Suicide. Violence. Both are complicated public health crises on their own. But, when combined, what changes in the way advocates or agencies respond? Join us as we explore the connections between suicide and violence within the military community, to address biases, discover resources, and build confidence. Register Here!


We changed the way we work to end violence in our Indigenous communities in the face of a dire pandemic. We learned to advocate policy, create awareness, and search for our loved ones despite insurmountable circumstances and with virtual restrictions.

Those of you who joined us for the virtual MMIWP conference in October, we have deep gratitude for you. We call on you to attend in-person the Next Steps Conference on Missing & Murdered Indigenous People. The Coeur d’Alene Tribe STOP Violence invites you to this working conference to move our collective vision forward. We are scholars, advocates, educators, law enforcement officers, attorneys, justices, and so much more. The sum of our collective efforts is the much needed pivot in our work to end violence in Indian country.

Register & Learn More Here


What is Systemic Racism?| 8-part Video Series

Race Forward presents, “What Is Systemic Racism?” an 8-part video series that shows how racism shows up in our lives across institutions and society: Wealth Gap, Employment, Housing Discrimination, Government Surveillance, Incarceration, Drug Arrests, Immigration Arrests, Infant Mortality… yes, systemic racism is really a thing. View the series here!

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