[pdf] FAQs for Victims’ Lawyers: The Central Role of Federal Immigration Laws and the Confidentiality Provisions of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in Protecting the Safety and Privacy of Immigrant Survivors (January 2023) (+)

The immigration-related remedies for survivors of crime, and the corresponding federal immigration VAWA confidentiality laws, are designed to remove immigration status as a barrier to survivors accessing the help they need. They are also intended to encourage survivors to report to and cooperate with law enforcement and criminal prosecutions. The Victim Rights Law Center (VRLC)1 and the National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project (NIWAP)2 developed these FAQs (and a companion tip sheet) to help attorneys understand and navigate the VAWA confidentiality protections in federal immigration law when representing survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, sex trafficking, dating violence, and stalking who are seeking protection from deportation and other immigration relief.

[pdf] Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Koch Foods 5th Circuit (October 22 2015) (+)

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Koch Foods. NIWAP Inc. collaborated with Latino Justice, the law firms of Arnold and Porter and Procopio, and Legal Momentum to submit an amicus brief to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in an interlocutory appeal of a Federal District Court decision to allow an employer who employed supervisors who perpetrated rape, sexual assault, felonious assault, extortion, sexual harassment and other discrimination against workers to use civil court discovery in an EEOC enforcement action to obtain copies of the victim’s VAWA confidentiality protected U visa case files. The brief provided legislative history of the VAWA confidentiality provisions and the U visa and discussed the public policy effects on victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and other crimes if discovery of VAWA confidentiality protected information is allowed in civil cases. (October 22, 2015)

[pdf] Three Prongs of VAWA Confidentiality (December 15, 2021) (+)

A brochure summarizing the three prongs of VAWA confidentiality (Disclosure Limitations, Source Limitations, & Enforcement Limitations) for advocates and attorneys, including information on best practices and complaint instructions.

[pdf] VAWA-Confidentiality-History-Purpose-and-Violations (+)

Chapter 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.

[pdf] VAWA Confidentiality and Breaches (2013) (+)

Battered immigrant women relay extremely sensitive and private information to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS, formerly INS)3 when seeking immigration relief. A batterer in possession of any of this information might use it to locate the battered immigrant spouse and her children and harm them. If he becomes aware that she is seeking immigration status independently of him or planning on leaving him, he might try to seek revenge and might contact the immigration authorities in an attempt to undermine her case or have her deported. For these reasons, confidentiality rules can serve as a potentially lifesaving protection for the victim and her children. A manual of confidentiality and breaches of confidentiality.

[pdf] The 2005 Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act: Why Congress Acted to Expand Protections to Immigrant Victims (+)

A brief history of the Violence Against Women Act and congressional intent that lead to the expanded legal protections for immigrant crime victims in the 2005 reauthorization written by Representative John Conyers, Jr.

February 24, 2017: “Enhanced Safety Planning for Immigrant Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence” (Webinar)

Abusers often use the threat of immigration enforcement as a way to maintain power and control and to make victims less likely to seek protection. For this reason, it is important for advocates to understand how to: help immigrant survivors become aware of their rights; identify special immigration remedies for victims, including special VAWA provisions around confidentiality; and how to prepare […]

[pdf] Confidentiality and Immigrant Victims: Responsibilities of Shelters, Rape Crisis Centers and Victim Services Providers (July 6, 2012) (+)

Information regarding shelter victim confidentiality and how state immigration legislation may impact domestic violence and shelter programs’ ability to comply with confidentiality requirements under state and federal law.