A victim of domestic violence, concerned for her safety, may be discouraged from seeking health care services because she fears that her health information will not remain confidential. Given the consequences of inappropriate disclosures, it is crucial that everyone interested in improving the safety and health status of battered women get involved to ensure adequate privacy protections at every level -- from institutional policies to federal laws.
The following guiding principle and specific principles are designed to improve and build upon existing confidentiality safeguards to ensure that domestic violence victims are not placed at increased risk of retaliatory violence, discrimination, harassment, denial of insurance benefits, and other harm. Advocates, health care providers, administrators, oversight agencies, and policy makers can use these principles to improve health care delivery through health care practice, institution, and system reforms, as well as Federal and State legislation.
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