The SALS program refers to survivors under the age of 18 as minor survivors. ‘Minor’ is the legal term of art used to describe an individual under the age of 18.
For Parents (if your child is under the age of 18 at time services begin): We thank you for advocating for and supporting your child(ren) through a challenging time. If you applied on behalf of your child: Our Specialized Legal Advocate will review the Application, perform a conflict check with our contract attorneys, and reach out to inform you of next steps. Following this, our SALS advocate will be in touch with your child individually to schedule an intake appointment to introduce your child to our program and staff, discuss their legal needs, and explain SALS procedures. Please note that it is our priority to speak directly with the survivor of sexual violence at our earliest opportunity to help them decide if our services are right for them.
Our office actively protects and upholds the privacy and confidentiality of a minor survivor’s experiences/information. With some limited exceptions, information shared with our legal advocate or attorneys at SALS are protected by advocate privilege (Montana Code Annotated § 26-1-812) and attorney-client privilege (Montana Code Annotated § 26-1-803). Your information, including that provided in the application process, along with any conversations between you and our advocate and attorneys, remains confidential within the SALS office and are protected under Montana law (with some exceptions). This means that during the initial intake discussion, one of our attorneys may wish to speak to the minor applicant privately to establish attorney-client privilege and maintain confidentiality of the minor’s experience. However, we do recognize that an applicant may wish to have another person accompany them to the intake meeting. An applicant/client owns their information and must consent to sharing such information with us and others.
Please note that a third party present may void attorney-client privilege under certain circumstances; it is up to the client whether this privilege be waived or not. Our staff will share more information about these risks and some protections as we move through the intake process.