We are interested in how disclosure networks (the connections between people who learn about an individual’s sexual assault) affect your eventual outcomes. Therefore, we will be asking you about whom you told about your assault and how they reacted. We also want to talk to the people you told about how they felt and reacted when you talked to them about your assault. Finally, we would also like to survey anyone they told about your assault. For example, if you talked to your Mom about your assault, we will ask your Mom (with your permission) if we can interview her. If your Mom tells us that she talked to her old high school friend about your assault, we will ask the old high school friend to take a survey about their conversations with your Mom.
In order to get permission to talk to the people you told (e.g. friends, councilors, police officers, family members, health officials), we will ask you to sign a release of information giving us permission to talk to each of those people. We will also ask you to sign a HIPPA authorization release form that will allow us to talk to health professionals (e.g. doctors or sexual assault nurse examiner) about what you disclosed to them about your sexual assault and their knowledge about your mental, emotional and physical state when they met with you. We will not be asking for copies of your records. Instead, we will be asking the health professionals to discuss their interactions with you about your assault. Health professionals may choose to review your records to refresh their memory before speaking with us. However, we will never directly look at your records or make copies of them. Therefore, we will not talk to anyone without your prior written consent. With that in mind, all the information you provide will be kept in the strictest of confidence and will not be available to anyone other than the research team.
It is important for you to know that there will be study information that has your name on it. This includes: your answers to surveys, transcriptions of the interviews you have with researchers, your disclosure partner’s surveys and interviews, and all other information related to the people who know about your assault (e.g. the survey from your Mom’s friend will be kept with your information as it relates to your interview). We will keep all of this information (taped interviews, transcriptions, questionnaires, and informed consent documents) stored in a locked office (Morgan 417A). Any information that has been digitized (e.g. typed up transcripts of your interviews, answers on your surveys) will be kept on a password-protected cloud storage space that only researchers on this project have the password to.
After we finish interviewing you, all of the people you talked to about your assault, and surveying the people they talked to about your assault, we will remove your name from all of these materials and replace it with a unique identifier (a case number) that will not be linked to any information that identifies you (e.g. your name or contact information). Finally, when we publish or present what we find from this study, we will not identify your name or the name of any person involved in the study.
If you do not qualify or you decide not to participate in the larger study, your identifying information will be deleted from your answers on the survey within two weeks of taking this survey. These answers will be kept on a password-protected cloud storage space that only researchers on this project have access to.
While your confidentiality is ensured to the extent permitted by law and the technology used, the researcher is not responsible for the interception of data by third-parties over the internet.