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Advocates not compelled to talk (new law)

Published (5/16/2008)
By Craig Green
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Attorneys, physicians, psychologists, sexual assault counselors and clergy are not now required to disclose information about their clients or members without consent. A new law signed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty May 12 gives domestic abuse advocates the same protection.

Sponsored by Rep. Michael Paymar (DFL-St. Paul) and Sen. Mee Moua (DFL-St. Paul), the law defines a domestic abuse advocate as an employee or supervised volunteer of a community-based battered women’s shelter or domestic abuse program. These advocates cannot be compelled to provide any opinion about or information from the victim unless ordered by the court.

Paymar said that when victims of abuse share intimate relationship details or future plans with an advocate, they need to know that the information will stay confidential.

The law is effective Aug. 1, 2008.


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