For Survivors: Keeping Information About You Confidential
Authored By: Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA)
Why is confidentiality important?
If you are a survivor of abuse, you may be unsafe if information about you is given to others. Sometimes, a survivor will not be safe if the abuser can find them. If information about your address, telephone number, or where you work is given out to other people, your abuser may be able to find you.
Confidentiality lets you keep respect and dignity. Unfortunately, some people do not understand that it is never a survivor's fault that they are being abused. As a result, some people may look down on a survivor if they know they are being abused. Some survivors have been harrassed, rejected, evicted from home, or fired. Some survivors simply don't want other people to know their business. Confidentiality helps you to keep your personal life private if you choose.
Who will keep information about me confidential?
The law says that certain people must keep certain information about you confidential. For example, attorneys and advocates for survivors often must keep certain information about you private.
How can I know what information about me has to be kept confidential?
If you are working with any professional such as an attorney, advocate, prosecutor, social worker, counselor, etc., ask that person to talk to you about confidentiality. Ask that person to explain to you what information about you that person has to keep confidential. Also, ask that person what information about you that person can (or must) give to others.