What's the difference between the standard consent form developed by the Department under Public Act 129 of 2014 (DCH-3927) and the separate form I should use if I provided services for domestic violence, sexual assault, and/or stalking?

Although the standard consent form provides a convenient mechanism for coordination of care through information sharing, it was not designed to account for the heightened risks faced by people receiving services for domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

  • The standard form allows releases of information to multiple recipients, each of whom may have different obligations and policies regarding further disclosures.  People with concerns about domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking need to know how the information they release will be treated in the hands of each recipient. They may have difficulty keeping track of the risk of further disclosures if they are asked to release information to multiple recipients at the same time. Furthermore, for individuals who need to protect their confidential information in the context of legal proceedings, a release to multiple recipients may inadvertently result in unintended waivers of statutory privileges. 
  • General-purpose disclosures such as those on the standard form may put individuals at greater risk because they are not narrowly tailored to meet specific, well-defined goals.
    People with concerns about domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking must limit information-sharing to the minimum amount necessary to accomplish specific, well-defined purposes.
  • The long time frame provided in the standard release form may permit disclosures of information beyond a time when this is safe. Perpetrators of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are often volatile individuals who engage in unpredictable behavior. Particularly in cases involving violence against intimate partners, a perceived loss of control over a partner can cause a perpetrator’s threatening or violent behavior to escalate in an effort to reassert power over the partner. Releases of information that were safe at one point in time may put an individual at risk days or weeks later. Thus, releases of information for people with safety concerns must be limited to the minimum time necessary to accomplish a specific, well-defined purpose. 
  • Completing releases with the care providers who provided services for domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking allows those providers to assess whether a person’s consent was voluntary and willing. Providers who honor a release form signed with another provider may not have a chance to assess whether consent was obtained by fraud, duress, or coercion.