Tarasoff Duties after Newtown
7 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2013 Last revised: 25 Jun 2014
Date Written: September 12, 2013
The public was not prepared for the brutal and cold-blooded murder of twenty first-grade school children and six teachers and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012. Following the all-too-familiar emotional stages of shock, grief, and anger, many members of the public and elected officials turned to the issue of how to prevent such tragedies in the future. This article is concerned with one aspect of the mental health issue, whether a mental health professional has a duty to protect threatened victims. After reviewing the inconsistent and confusing interpretations of the Tarasoff doctrine and related principles the article proposes a strategy for developing and implementing a unitary, national standard for health care providers’ privilege to disclose confidential information and their duty to protect individuals threatened by potentially violent mental health patients.
Keywords: duty to warn, duty to protect, tarasoff, confidentiality, mental health, HIPAA Privacy Rule, FERPA
JEL Classification: K31, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation