Code of the District of Columbia

§ 14–312. Sexual assault counselors.

(a) For the purposes of this section, the term:

(1) "Confidential communication" means:

(A) Information exchanged between a sexual assault victim 13 years of age or older and a sexual assault counselor during the course of the sexual assault counselor providing counseling, support, and assistance to the victim; and

(B) Records kept by a community-based organization in the course of providing victim advocacy services pursuant to [§ 23-1909] for sexual assault victim 13 years of age or older.

(2) "DC SANE Program" means the DC Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program that provides comprehensive medical forensic care to sexual assault victims including:

(A) The DC Forensic Nurse Examiners;

(B) The Child and Adolescent Protection Center; and

(C) Any other entity within the District that is a member of the SART or the multidisciplinary investigation team, as described in [§ 4-1301.51].

(3) “Intrafamily offense” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 16-1001(8).

(4) “MPD” means the Metropolitan Police Department.

(5) "Sexual assault" means any of the following offenses: §§ 22-1834 (sex trafficking of children); 22-2704 (abducting or enticing child from his or her home for the purposes of prostitution; harboring such child); 22-2705 (pandering; inducing or compelling an individual to engage in prostitution); 22-2706 (compelling an individual to live life of prostitution against his or her will); 22-2708 (causing spouse or domestic partner to live in prostitution); 22-2709 (detaining an individual in disorderly house for debt there contracted); 22-1901 (incest); 22-3002 (first degree sexual abuse); 22-3003 (second degree sexual abuse); 22-3004 (third degree sexual abuse); 22-3005 (fourth degree sexual abuse); 22-3006 (misdemeanor sexual abuse); 22-3008 (first degree child sexual abuse); 22-3009 (second degree child sexual abuse); 22-3009.01 (first degree sexual abuse of a minor); 22-3009.02 (second degree sexual abuse of a minor); 22-3009.03 (first degree sexual abuse of a secondary education student); 22-3009.04 (second degree sexual abuse of a secondary education student); 22-3010 (enticing a child or minor);22-3010.01 (misdemeanor sexual abuse of a child or minor); 22-3010.02 (arranging for sexual contact with a real or fictitious child); 22-3013 (first degree sexual abuse of a ward, patient, client, or prisoner); 22-3014 (second degree sexual abuse of a ward, patient, client, or prisoner); 22-3015 (first degree sexual abuse of a patient or client); 22-3016 (second degree sexual abuse of a patient or client); 22-3018 (attempts to commit sexual offenses); or 22-3102 (knowingly using a minor in a sexual performance or promoting a sexual performance by a minor).

(5A) "Sexual assault counselor" shall have the same meaning as provided in § 23-1907(10).

(6) "Sexual assault victim" means any individual against whom a sexual assault has been committed or is alleged to have been committed, including:

(A) Deceased individuals; and

(B) Representatives appointed by the court to exercise the rights and receive services on behalf of sexual assault victims who are under 18 years of age, incompetent, incapacitated, or deceased.

(7) [Repealed].

(b)(1) A sexual assault counselor shall not disclose a confidential communication except:

(A) As required by statute or by a court of law;

(B) As voluntarily authorized in writing by the sexual assault victim;

(C) To other individuals employed by the DC SANE Program and third party providers when and to the extent necessary to facilitate the delivery of services to the sexual assault victim;

(D) To the MPD or other law enforcement agency to the extent necessary to protect the sexual assault victim or another individual from a substantial risk of imminent and serious physical injury;

(E) To compile statistical or anecdotal information, without personal identifying information, for research or public information purposes; or

(F) For any confidential communications relevant to a claim or defense if the sexual assault victim files a lawsuit against a sexual assault counselor or the DC SANE Program.

(2) Unless the disclosure is public, confidential communications disclosed pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not be further disclosed by the recipient except as authorized in paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(3) The confidentiality of a confidential communication shall not be waived by the presence of, or disclosure to a:

(A) Sign language or foreign language interpreter; provided, that a sign language or foreign language interpreter shall be subject to the limitations and exceptions set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection and the same privileges set forth in subsection (c) of this section;

(B) Third party participating in group counseling with the sexual assault victim; or

(C) Third party with the consent of the victim where reasonably necessary to accomplish the purpose for which the sexual assault counselor is consulted.

(4) Except as provided in this subsection, no sexual assault counselor shall be compelled to reveal a confidential communication in any civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding, unless the sexual assault victim has given written consent.

(5) Notwithstanding § 4-1321.02, sexual assault counselors shall be exempt from mandatory reporting of any crime disclosed in a confidential communication unless the sexual assault counselor has actual knowledge that the crime disclosed to the sexual assault counselor involves:

(A) A victim under the age of 13;

(B) A perpetrator or alleged perpetrator with whom the sexual assault victim has a significant relationship, as that term is defined in § 22-3001(10); or

(C) A perpetrator or alleged perpetrator who is more than 4 years older than the sexual assault victim.

(b-1) The presence of a sexual assault counselor shall not waive any privilege otherwise guaranteed by law.

(c)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, when a sexual assault victim has been adjudicated incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction for the purpose of asserting or waiving the privilege established by this section, or is deceased, the sexual assault victim’s parent, guardian, or personal representative may assert or waive the privilege.

(2) If the parent, guardian, or personal representative of the sexual assault victim described in paragraph (1) of this subsection has been charged with an intrafamily offense, sexual assault, or has had a protection order or a neglect petition entered against him or her at the request of or on behalf of the sexual assault victim, or otherwise has interests adverse to those of the sexual assault victim with respect to the assertion or waiver of the privilege, the court shall appoint an attorney for purposes of asserting or waiving the privilege.

(d) The assertion of any privilege under this section is not admissible in evidence.


(Nov. 20, 2014, D.C. Law 20-139, § 102(c), 61 DCR 5913; Mar. 3, 2020, D.C. Law 23-57, § 5, 66 DCR 15914.)

Applicability

Section 402 of D.C. Law 23-274 provided that the amendments made to this section by Law 23-57 shall apply as of January 1, 2021.

Section 3 of D.C. Act 23-552 provided that the amendments made to this section by Law 23-57 shall apply as of January 1, 2021. Therefore those amendments shall be implemented for this section on January 1, 2021.

Section 3 of D.C. Act 23-412 provided that the amendments made to this section by Law 23-57 shall apply as of January 1, 2021. Therefore those amendments shall be implemented for this section on January 1, 2021.

Section 9(a) of D.C. Law 23-57 provided that the amendments made to this section by Law 23-57 shall apply as of October 1, 2020. Therefore those amendments shall be implemented for this section on October 1, 2020.

Editor's Notes

Section 301 of D.C. Law 20-139 provided that the Mayor, pursuant to § 2-501 et seq., may issue rules to implement the provisions of the act.