Domestic violence abusers often challenge the credibility of victims, who step up to disclose the abuse. Cynthia Dill effectively described this tactic and others in her Feb. 18 column about recent disclosures of abuse involving public officials.

The column did, however, create some confusion about the reporting of abuse by those who help these victims. Maine does not have any laws “mandating” reporting of violence or abuse committed against adults, unless the abuse involves: 1) treatment of a gunshot wound by a health care practitioner; 2) abuse or neglect of children; 3) or a victim who is a dependent or incapacitated person as defined in the Adult Protective Services Act.

So the dental hygienists mentioned in the column are not required to report abuse of an adult victim who is not dependent or incapacitated. And attorneys, who are indeed bound by professional rules of conduct, would be prohibited from making such a report involving an adult client without the victim’s consent.

It is important that adult victims know that they will not be “reported” in Maine if they seek help from legal, health care, dental or advocacy service providers.

Faye Luppi, Esq.

project director, Cumberland County Violence Intervention Partnership

Portland