Chapter 03: VAWA Confidentiality: History, Purpose, DHS Implementation, and Violations of VAWA Confidentiality Protections [pdf]

Chapter Three in Empowering Survivors: Legal Rights of Immigrant Victims of Sexual Assault. This chapter contains detailed legislative history on the development and evolution of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) confidentiality protections under U.S. immigration laws. VAWA’s immigration confidentiality protections accomplish three objectives: 1) preventing DHS, DOJ and the U.S. State Department from relying on information provided by a perpetrator or the perpetrator’s family member to harm victims; 2) barring the release by government officials of information about the existence of, actions taken in, or materials contained in a VAWA confidentiality protected case file; and 3) establishing a list of protected locations at which immigration enforcement actions in cases involving immigrant crime victims are not to take place. This chapter discusses each of these protections in detail and includes statutory and legislative history, regulations and government policies implementing VAWA confidentiality protections. This chapter also contains a discussion of sanctions applicable to DHS, DOJ, and State Department officials when VAWA confidentiality violations occur.