Privacy and Confidentiality Tips
The RSP put together the several tips on protecting privacy when advocates are working from home or other atypical places. Please use these tips alongside your jurisdiction’s laws on confidentiality and guidance from your coalition. (file attached for download at bottom of the page)
Having 24/7 confidential support available by phone is one of the easiest ways programs can offer continuing support to their communities without exposing anyone to possible infection. In times of crisis, survivors may be triggered by the sense of helplessness and powerlessness around the situation they feel. We also know that rates of sexual assault tend to increase in times of disaster. RSP's rural TA project assembled a useful guide for running support lines and talks about why marketing your crisis line as a helpline may broaden who feels comfortable calling for help. You can access the helpline publication at: http://www.resourcesharingproject.org/helplines
Internet-based Survivor Support
NNEDV's SafetyNet Project has created a number of helpful tools around using technology to provide services. Several that they shared again recently include:
- What's New: Changes and Details with Communication Platforms
- Using Technology to Communicate with Survivors During a Public Health Crisis (find additional related resources in our Digital Services Toolkit)
- Best Practices for Mobile Advocacy
- How to Operate as a Remote Workplace During a Public Health Crisis
- Digital Written Consent handout
- NNEDV's Seeking Help Online handouts. Though these focus heavily on domestic violence, some of the reflection questions for survivors at the beginning of the document may be relevant to share with sexual assault survivors.
The American Bar Association also recently hosted a webinar for lawyers representing domestic violence survivors about privacy, confidentiality, and privilege while providing remote legal representation. While courts may not all be open across the country, some of the tips and considerations may apply to lawyers working with sexual assault survivors now too.
NCCASA offers ideas for alternative ways to provide support to survivors while programs offer services remotely and tips for doing outreach during this time. They also shared a resource to help programs that are new to navigating technology for service delivery.
The Sexual Assault Demonstration Initiative also provides ideas for how to practice flexibility in meeting the varied needs of sexual assault survivors by throwing away the menu.
Attached at the bottom of this page is also a list of technology apps that NNEDV's SafetyNet Project feels are "well-suited to protect privacy as they are currently set up". There are also informed consent samples created by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR). The doxy.me platform they reference is HIPAA compliant, but research into their privacy policies indicate that they do collect personally identifying information and may therefore not be compliant with VAWA confidentiality standards.
Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA) also recently hosted a webinar on telehealth counseling