Privilege, Confidentiality, and Domestic Violence

In Domestic Violence by Sarah Hink

People in a domestic violence relationship are in a precarious, volatile, and highly dangerous situation. It is incredibly hard for victims to choose to leave these relationships and even harder to do so safely. This is why domestic violence programs exist throughout the country, to provide advice, counseling, and shelter. It is essential, however, for victims to be able to trust that it is safe to utilize these essential resources. The North Carolina General Statutes Section 8-53.12 provides that certain domestic violence communications by a victim are privileged. The purpose for this privilege is to encourage domestic violence victims to come forward for help without fear that their identity or what they said in confidence will be disclosed to their abuser. Specifically, the statute states that “No agent of a …