Selected State Statutes: Wisconsin

Statutes: Wisconsin

View all

905.045 Domestic violence or sexual assault advocate-victim privilege

(1) Definitions. In this section:

(a) “Abusive conduct” means abuse, as defined in s. 813.122(1)(a), of a child, as defined in s. 813.122(1)(b), interspousal battery, as described under s. 940.19 or 940.20(1m), domestic abuse, as defined in s. 813.12(1)(am), sexual exploitation by a therapist under s. 940.22, sexual assault under s. 940.225, human trafficking involving a commercial sex act under s. 940.302, or child sexual abuse under s. 948.02, 948.025, or948.05 to 948.11.

(c) A communication or information is “confidential” if not intended to be disclosed to 3rd persons other than persons present to further the interest of the person receiving counseling, assistance, or support services, persons reasonably necessary for the transmission of the communication or information, and persons who are participating in providing counseling, assistance, or support services under the direction of a victimadvocate, including family members of the person receiving counseling, assistance, or support services and members of any group of individuals with whom the person receives counseling, assistance, or support services.

(d) “Victim” means an individual who has been the subject of abusive conduct or who alleges that he or she has been the subject of abusive conduct. It is immaterial that the abusive conduct has not been reported to any government agency.

(e) “Victim advocate” means an individual who is an employee of or a volunteer for an organization the purpose of which is to provide counseling, assistance, or support services free of charge to a victim.

(2) General rule of privilege. A victim has a privilege to refuse to disclose and to prevent any other person from disclosing confidential communications made or information obtained or disseminated among the victim, a victim advocate who is acting in the scope of his or her duties as a victim advocate, and persons who are participating in providing counseling, assistance, or support services under the direction of a victimadvocate, if the communication was made or the information was obtained or disseminated for the purpose of providing counseling, assistance, or support services to the victim.

(3) Who may claim the privilege. The privilege may be claimed by the victim, by the victim's guardian or conservator, or by the victim's personal representative if the victim is deceased. The victim advocate may claim the privilege on behalf of the victim. The victim advocate's authority to do so is presumed in the absence of evidence to the contrary.

(4) Exceptions. Subsection (2) does not apply to any report concerning child abuse that a victim advocate is required to make under s. 48.981.

(5) Relationship to s. 905.04. If a communication or information that is privileged under sub. (2) is also a communication or information that is privileged under s. 905.04(2), the provisions of s. 905.04 supersede this section with respect to that communication or information.