2013 ORS 181.860¹
Peer support counseling sessions
  • confidentiality
  • admissibility as evidence

(1) For the purposes of this section:

(a) Emergency services provider means any public employer that employs persons to provide firefighting services.

(b) Emergency services personnel means any employee of an emergency services provider who is engaged in providing firefighting services.

(c) Employee assistance program means a program established by a law enforcement agency or emergency services provider to provide counseling or support services to employees of the law enforcement agency or emergency services provider.

(d) Law enforcement agency means any county sheriff, municipal police department, police department established by a university under ORS 352.383 (University police departments and officers) or 353.125 (Creation of police department and commission of police officers), the Oregon State Police and any state or local public body that employs public safety personnel.

(e) Public safety personnel means a sheriff, deputy sheriff, municipal police officer, police officer commissioned by a university under ORS 352.383 (University police departments and officers) or 353.125 (Creation of police department and commission of police officers), state police officer, parole and probation officer, corrections employee, certified reserve officer, telecommunicator or emergency medical dispatcher.

(2) Any communication made by a participant or counselor in a peer support counseling session conducted by a law enforcement agency or by an emergency services provider for public safety personnel or emergency services personnel, and any oral or written information conveyed in the peer support counseling session, is confidential and may not be disclosed by any person participating in the peer support counseling session.

(3) Any communication relating to a peer support counseling session made confidential under subsection (2) of this section that is made between counselors, between counselors and the supervisors or staff of an employee assistance program, or between the supervisors or staff of an employee assistance program, is confidential and may not be disclosed.

(4) The provisions of this section apply only to peer support counseling sessions conducted by an employee or other person who:

(a) Has been designated by a law enforcement agency or emergency services provider, or by an employee assistance program, to act as a counselor; and

(b) Has received training in counseling and in providing emotional and moral support to public safety personnel or emergency services personnel who have been involved in emotionally traumatic incidents by reason of their employment.

(5) The provisions of this section apply to all oral communications, notes, records and reports arising out of a peer support counseling session. Any notes, records or reports arising out of a peer support counseling session are not public records for the purpose of ORS 192.410 (Definitions for ORS 192.410 to 192.505) to 192.505 (Exempt and nonexempt public record to be separated).

(6) Any communication made by a participant or counselor in a peer support counseling session subject to this section, and any oral or written information conveyed in a peer support counseling session subject to this section, is not admissible in any judicial proceeding, administrative proceeding, arbitration proceeding or other adjudicatory proceeding. Communications and information made confidential under this section may not be disclosed by the participants in any judicial proceeding, administrative proceeding, arbitration proceeding or other adjudicatory proceeding. The limitations on disclosure imposed by this subsection include disclosure during any discovery conducted as part of an adjudicatory proceeding.

(7) Nothing in this section limits the discovery or introduction in evidence of knowledge acquired by any public safety personnel or emergency services personnel from observation made during the course of employment, or material or information acquired during the course of employment, that is otherwise subject to discovery or introduction in evidence.

(8) This section does not apply to:

(a) Any threat of suicide or homicide made by a participant in a peer support counseling session, or any information conveyed in a peer support counseling session relating to a threat of suicide or homicide;

(b) Any information relating to abuse of children or of the elderly, or other information that is required to be reported by law; or

(c) Any admission of criminal conduct.

(9) This section does not prohibit any communications between counselors who conduct peer support counseling sessions, or any communications between counselors and the supervisors or staff of an employee assistance program. [1999 c.455 §1; 2001 c.687 §4; 2005 c.264 §20; 2011 c.506 §30; 2013 c.180 §34]


1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 181—State Police; Crime Reporting and Records; Public Safety Standards and Training; Sex Offender Reporting; Private Security Services, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­2013ors181.­html (2013) (last ac­cessed Apr. 27, 2014).
 
2 OregonLaws.org contains the con­tents of Volume 21 of the ORS, inserted along­side the per­tin­ent statutes. See the preface to the ORS An­no­ta­tions for more information.
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.