Disclosing Limits of Confidentiality

Navigating the balance between confidentiality and abuse reporting requirements is the fundamental challenge when addressing IPV. Laws requiring mandatory reporting of child abuse perpetrated by a parent or caregiver are often clear. However, laws vary widely from state to state for adolescents when it comes to sexual or physical abuse by a partner. As a provider, it is critical to understand the state’s minor consent and confidentiality, physical and sexual abuse laws (and in some state, statutory rape laws), and that you are able to clearly articulate them to your patients.

Make sure that you have accurate, up-to-date information about reporting laws for your state, and disclose limits of confidentiality prior to screening.

Because simply providing anticipatory guidance about healthy relationships can trigger a positive disclosure of abuse or other situation that requires a report to law enforcement or child welfare, it is essential that the limits of confidentiality are reviewed with all patients prior to any anticipatory guidance about healthy relationships or direct assessment for ARA.

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