What are safest and most confidential forms of communication when working with clients remotely?
Survivors should always be the ones leading the conversation on what type of communication will work best for them. What works for one survivor may not work for someone else. Communication, especially during COVID-19 and social distancing will be ever evolving as survivors have to stay at home with their abusers and not be able to access support outside of the home. It is important to think through with the survivor what type of communication may be safest for them. For example, video conferencing may not be good for a survivor who is considered that an abuser could see or hear them talking to an advocate. This survivor may want to use chat or texting services as they are discreet and can limit the audible sound of advocacy services being delivered. For some survivors, a video call may be easier, because they are already using video services to communicate with their jobs or loved one. Whatever service your agency chooses to use, the important part is to ensure that we are meeting the confidentiality obligations we have and making sure survivors are able to choose what works best for them. We have created a comparison chart that lists several different types of platforms that can meet a variety of needs. As a practice, Safety Net does not and cannot recommend software products. We also cannot say if a product is or isn’t compliant with the federal confidentiality laws. But what we can do is offer information we gather from the software companies, and information about best practices related to confidentiality, privacy, and safety while using technology to communicate with survivors.