Oregon House Passes Bill Protecting Sexual Assault Survivor’s Privacy

The Oregon House of Representatives passed a bill to assure sexual assault victims that anything they say while seeking help or information from advocates would be kept confidential.
Published: April 17, 2015

The Oregon House passed a bill that would make conversations between sexual assault survivors and advocates confidential.

House Bill 3476 was passed unanimously on April 13 to make communication between sexual assault victims and advocates, such as college counselors, privileged.

The bill comes a month after a previously reported controversy at Oregon University when the school used a student’s mental health records in court to defend itself against a lawsuit by using a loophole in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Legislators said they wrote the bill specifically to prevent that from happening again, according to oregonlive.com.

Since that controversy, acting provost at Oregon University Frances Bronet has sent conflicting messages by telling students the school’s counseling center would keep records confidential but changing the Confidentiality and Privacy Policy on its website to dilute the language.

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Representative Ann Lininger, one of the bill’s sponsors, said the bill would reassure sexual assault victims that anything they say when seeking help or information from advocates would be kept private.

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