Send Your Replies to ME

& please note that unless the author of response below says he/she is an attorney, NONE of this info is legally accurate. These are educated guesses,but could be all wet. I'm hoping we get some attorneys to weigh in on this!
If you have legal documentation to prove your opinion, or a friend/family member who is an attorney who could help us out here, I'd be REALLY grateful! - thanks - Lynn

Dear ME

I am not an attorney but I can say for a fact that the laws vary from one state to another. In Maryland, where I live, it is mandatory to report all past abuse.
This is a strict law that was passed several years ago.

In the District of Columbia, it is not mandatory to report past abuse. That is done at the discretion of the therapist and client. It is mandatory to report information related to present-day risk.

My therapist chooses to practice in DC and not in Maryland b/c of this difference. She believes that mandatory reporting of past abuse is
not likely to result in lower risk to children, due to the difficulty of getting the facts about what happened so long ago. However it is
likely to damage therapeutic relationships, by forcing survivors to confront issues of reporting before they are ready to do so.

I chose to report two of my abusers. One was under arrest for abusing someone else. The detective could not use my testimony but I hoped to
provide moral support for the survivor who did come forward. The offender had basically confessed in writing to the survivor a few
years ago and that confession went straight to the police.

The other abuser was someone who had hurt me when I was very young, around age 4. I told that abuse to an employee of a Catholic church
in Maryland and she said she had to report it. She said it was not likely, however, that anything would be done about it and in fact I
never heard anything about follow up. I have not seen this abuser in a long time.

Hope that helps. Somewhere on the Net there has got to be a listing of laws by state but I am not going to look it up b/c I'm not an
attorney and would not want to take the risk of linking to a site with inaccurate or outdated information.



Hi ME,

Some therapists will work on a sliding scale. Also many towns and cities have women's centers where they offer therapy on a sliding scale where you would pay next to nothing.

That's all I have to offer. I think its important you find a therapist.

Good luck,
Mary G.


Dear ME,
I have been seeing a therapist for over four years.  NEVER would he reveal anything I tell him.  He would only report to proper authorities IF I was in danger of harming myself or others.  This is in the state of New York.  This is in their code of ethics.  Certainly, if he did tell anyone, anything we speak about, I would not be able to trust him and find another therapist.  My therapist is not legally able to speak to another therapist regarding anything we discuss.  Everything is confidential.  Period. Our session room is a safe and comfortable room.  My therapist does not judge me or tells me what to do.  He may offer
many suggestions which is then MY decision which one to choose or do as I see fit.  I wish you well in your therapy.  Remember, you are the employer in this situation.  You have the right to choose any therapist you are content with.
Take Care,
Brenda in NY


Dear ME:

This is the message received back from my brother in law who is a lawyer and deals with some abuse cases.  He referenced a case that anyone can look up for themselves on the internet.  I hope it helps you a little and of course my question or thoughts is from my experience that partners many times get angry with someone that they know abuses us but mine never seemed to be able to muster up anything in their presences with my family.  They would never have been in therapy back then but I could see where it would be an easy outlet for them to think they had done something about it via someone else in authority.  Perhaps other partners will learn to discuss this kind of issue with their partner.  Fuel for thought. 

Lady J 

"The general rule is as you pointed out:  imminent future risk ( Tarisoff v. Board of Regents of California).  There are some state laws that might deal with current child abuse, but certainly not past abuse.  The added consideration, however, is does the husband's therapist have any confidentiality issues as applied to the wife's past abuse.  I suppose if the husband felt it was not confidential, the therapist had no legal obligation to the wife. "


Dear ME,

I think it's ethical and in some places a law for a professional to report past abuse only if they suspect the offender is currently likely to abuse a vulnerable person again. I know therapists feel a lot of dilemma in this situation, because of exactly the trust reasons you mention. I'm glad for you it worked better this way. 



 I believe that most states have a statute of limitations on child abuse. While it
can be reported, if you are over 18, they cannot be charged for your abuse.
HOWEVER, if the perpetrator is in a position where they are around children,
where there may be a threat to others, your therapist may want to report it to
prevent others from going through the trauma you did.

katie p.