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Legal Information: North Carolina

Confidentiality

Updated: 
October 13, 2020

Will information that I share with a domestic violence counselor be kept confidential?

If you speak to a counselor at a domestic violence program or a rape crisis center (including a hotline, shelter, court advocacy program, etc.) about emotional or physical abuse, sexual assault, or any experience of domestic violence, the counselor must keep that information confidential. This means that the counselor cannot tell other people in the community about your situation (such as health care providers, attorneys, school staff, etc.). It doesn’t matter if the counselor or advocate is a volunteer or a paid employee; s/he still has to keep the information private unless you give him/her permission to reveal it.1

If you give permission to the counselor or advocate to discuss or share your information, it should be in writing – this is called written consent. In the written consent, you can specifically say who the counselor can share the information with. Also, you can put a time limit on the consent. For example, you can say that the consent is only valid for 30 days. After those 30 days, then the counselor must go back to keeping the information private. However, there are certain situations when the confidentiality privilege will not apply and the advocate/counselor can reveal the information you give. See Are there times when the counselor can reveal my information against my wishes? for more information.

1 N.C.G.S. § 8-53.12(b)