Counselling and confidentiality

 

Sir, – We refer to the article “Is your conversation with a therapist truly confidential?” (April 10th).

Limits on confidentiality are often very distressing for anyone attending counselling, but survivors do have some statutory protection. We would like to draw attention to it.

Since Section 39 Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 came into force on May 30th, 2018, survivors of sexual violence have been entitled to raise objections to disclosure in criminal proceedings of the counselling records (notes) held by their counsellor.

If survivors do not wish to consent to disclosure, they have the right to instruct their own lawyer to make objections on their behalf in front of a judge, who must decide to what extent (if any) the counselling notes should be made available to the prosecution and defence.

We suggest that any survivor concerned about disclosure issues discusses these with his or her counsellor.

Rape Crisis Network Ireland can also provide advice and support directly on disclosure concerns from both counsellors and survivors. – Yours, etc,

CAROLINE COUNIHAN,

Legal Director,

Rape Crisis

Network Ireland,

Dublin 7.