Code of the District of Columbia

§ 14–314. Crime victim counselors.

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

(1) "Confidential communication" means information exchanged between a victim and a crime victim counselor during the course of the advocate providing counseling, support, and assistance to a victim, including all records kept by the crime victim counselor and the crime victim counselor program concerning the victim and services provided to the victim.

(2) "Crime" means the following criminal offenses:

(A) Assault with intent to kill, rob, or poison, or to commit first degree sexual abuse, second degree sexual abuse or child sexual abuse, as provided in § 22-401;

(B) Assault with intent to commit mayhem or with dangerous weapon, as provided in § 22-402;

(C) Aggravated assault, as provided in § 22-404.01;

(D) Murder in the first degree, as provided in § 22-2101;

(E) Murder in the second degree, as provided in § 22-2103; and

(F) Murder of a law enforcement officer, as provided in § 22-2106.

(3) "Crime victim counselor program" means a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that supports, counsels, and assists victims of crime.

(4) "Crime victim counselor" means an employee, contractor, or volunteer of a crime victim counselor program who:

(A) Is rendering support, counseling, or assistance to a victim;

(B) Has undergone at least 40 hours of training related to crime victim counseling that includes instruction on:

(i) The dynamics and history of violent crime;

(ii) Trauma resulting from violent crime;

(iii) Responding to the specific needs of youth victims of violent crime;

(iv) Trauma-informed care, crisis intervention, personal safety, and risk management;

(v) Cultural humility; and

(vi) Services available to victims of violent crime; and

(C) Is supervised by an individual who has a minimum of:

(i) Five years of experience rendering support, counseling, or assistance to victims of violent crime; or

(ii) Three years of experience rendering support, counseling, or assistance victims of violent crime and an advanced degree in a related field.

(5) "Victim" means a person against whom a crime has been committed or attempted to be committed.

(b)(1) A crime victim 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 victim;

(C) To other individuals employed at the crime victim counselor program and third-party providers when, and to the extent necessary, to facilitate the delivery of services to the victim;

(D) To the Metropolitan Police Department or other law enforcement agencies, to the extent necessary to protect the 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 victim files a lawsuit against a crime victim counselor program or its members.

(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, who 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 victim; or

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

(c)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, when a victim is under 13 years of age, 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 victim's parent, guardian, or personal representative may assert or waive the privilege.

(2) If the parent, guardian, or personal representative of a victim described in paragraph (1) of this subsection has been charged with an intrafamily offense or has had a protection order or a neglect petition entered against him or her at the request of or on behalf of the victim, or otherwise has interests adverse to those of the 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.