VAWA Confidentiality: Understanding the Three Safeguards and Limited Discovery Exceptions when Advocating for Survivors in Family and Criminal State Courts

This training has already occurred! You can view the slideshow and other handouts for the training at

Following creation of the Violence Against Women Act’s immigration protections, abusers and crime perpetrators continued efforts to undermine their victims’ immigration cases and have victims deported. To halt the harm to victims of these practices VAWA Confidentiality protections were created to identify victims’ cases and stop government officials from being manipulated by perpetrators. VAWA confidentiality offers protection against immigration enforcement actions and officially severs the perpetrator’s ability to learn about, interfere with, or control any immigration case that a VAWA confidentiality protected victim files.

This 90-minute webinar will provide advocates and attorneys with up to date information about:

  • VAWA confidentiality law;
  • its protections against deportation;
  • government reliance on perpetrator provided information;
  • limitations on immigration enforcement;
  • and protections against disclosure of the existence of the VAWA confidentiality protected case, with very limited exceptions.

Faculty will discuss how confidentiality issues present in the family and criminal court contexts and how to address VAWA confidentiality discovery issues, including practice pointers to prevent attempts by an abuser to obtain information about the existence and/or contents of a VAWA, T or U visa application, for the purposes of maintaining power and control over a victim. During the webinar, faculty will also review procedures for filing a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for VAWA confidentiality violations, including immigration enforcement actions taken at prohibited locations.

Webinar materials, available at our web library, will include links to statutes, government policies and regulations, legislative history, training manuals, materials, and tool kits to better assist you in your work with immigrant survivors.

This is an interactive webinar in which attendees will be encouraged to participate and ask questions. Participants are encouraged to review previous webinars available at for background and details about victim based immigration remedies.

Target Audience:

This webinar is primarily for grantees who receive funding from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), their partners, and potential grantees who work with or advocate for immigrant survivors.


Leslye Orloff, Director, National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project (NIWAP), American University Washington College of Law; Jane Anderson Attorney Advisor, AEquitas: The Prosecutors’ Resource on Violence Against Women (invited); Judge Susan Breall Superior Court Juvenile Justice Center Judge of San Francisco, California (invited); Scott Santoro, Blue Campaign Training Advisor, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Amy Cucinella, Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (invited).


Please contact contact NIWAP at 202-274-4457 or

This training was developed under grant number 2013-TA-AX-K009 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

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