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UHS statement of confidentiality regarding sexual violence

UHS understands that many victims of gender based violence feel that they have been stripped of control of many parts of their life, and their privacy may be one area that remains in their control. As the student health center at UW–Madison, we are committed to protecting your health and well-being, which includes protecting your confidentiality.

UHS maintains information about its privacy practices online; this statement is not designed to supplant or replace UHS statements regarding privacy practices and consent forms.

This statement is designed to address the specific privacy and confidentiality concerns of student victims of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and/or stalking who seek UHS services. The medical, mental health, and victim advocacy services provided by UHS are confidential, which means that UHS will not share identifying information about clients who are victims/survivors of these crimes using the above listed services to third parties without written permission. UHS does not disclose identifying information about victim/survivors with campus officials, law enforcement, or parents except as listed below.

Limitations to Confidentiality

There are some limitations to our confidentiality practices specific to sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and/or stalking. UHS publishes this information in an effort to help students make informed choices in their care.

When UHS may release identifying information to third parties without written permission.

  • Minors: All UHS staff are required to report known or suspected physical and sexual abuse of minors (aged 17 and younger). For students/clients aged 17 or younger, this does not preclude care after sexual assault or intimate partner violence, but will require that the UHS staff call law enforcement or child protective services.
  • Serious Threat to Health or Safety: UHS may use and disclose your health information when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of others.
  • Court Order: In some cases, information may be released upon court order.
  • Per UHS Privacy Practices Otherwise Indicated: Learn more about privacy practices in medical or mental health.

UHS may release statistical information that an assault occurred. UHS will not include any personal information without written permission.

  • Sexual Assault: State and federal laws require some employees of the University to provide data to campus officials about crimes that occur on or near campus, or that affect members of the campus community, including students and employees. For students using medical, mental health, or victim advocacy services, UHS will only provide aggregate data, and will not provide any information that identifies you without your permission. Approved: UHS ELC April 2015
  • UHS operations otherwise indicated, including quality improvement: Learn more about privacy practices in medical or mental health.

Which UHS staff members provide confidential services and when?

UHS staff members in medical services, mental health, EVOC, and administrative staff members providing patient support services including information technology, health information management, risk management, student health insurance, and building services provide confidential services to victims who are over the age of 18.

Which UHS staff members cannot assure confidentiality and under what circumstances?

UHS staff members who do not provide medical, mental health, or victim advocacy services cannot guarantee your confidentiality upon your disclosure or their knowledge of an incident of sexual violence. This means that UHS staff, regardless of occupation, while performing duties that are outside of the scope of the patient/provider relationship, may be obligated to follow state and federal laws that require that campus authorities be notified of some elements of the victimization, which could include identifying information. Examples of these UHS staff may include: UHS staff who advise student organizations, UHS staff who supervise student staff, UHS staff who instruct courses, UHS staff who are identified as Campus Security Authorities or Title IX Responsible Employees.

In Summary

We are here to help. You can trust UHS to provide you with support, services, and information if you experience sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and/or stalking. In our mental health, medical clinics, and victim advocacy services, you can expect the highest regard for your confidentiality, except for very specific and limited reasons as listed above. It is our practice to inform you in the rare circumstance that your confidentiality would be limited.

If you have further questions, we encourage you to address them with your provider directly or contact the UHS Privacy Manager at 608-262-7471 or szweifel@uhs.wisc.edu.