First Step Counselling is committed to the privacy of out Clients. This document describes the policy of First Step Counselling for the management of Clients’ information
YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
As part of providing a service to you, we need to collect personal information which may include your name, contact details, address, phone number, date of birth, marital status, number of children as well as details of the issues you have attended these offices to discuss.
Clients’ files are kept in a locked cabinet of which only your counsellor has the key, no electronic copies are left on these premises.
The Counsellor will be consulting with their supervisor and information about your counselling sessions may be discussed from time to time.
These communications are confidential and no names or identifying details are shared. The purpose of supervision is to enhance the quality of care you receive.
HOW WE USE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
This information is gathered in order to document what happens during sessions, and enables the counsellor to provide a relevant and informed service.
First Step Counselling collects certain information for statistical and professional purposes. This information is not necessarily considered personal or sensitive. Information is only considered to be personal if the identity of the individual is apparent or can be reasonably ascertained from the informant.
Your personal information may be used in order to compile statistics such as the number of clients we see on a monthly basis, the number of males/females, the ages of clients counselled etc. This information may be used to administer, manage or develop our services.
All personal information gathered during the provision of the service will remain confidential and secure except when:
1. It is subpoenaed by a court (although it should be noted that it is the policy of First Step Counselling to argue for client confidentiality wherever possible)
2. Failure to disclose the information would place you or another person at risk
3. Your prior approval has been obtained to:
a. Provide a written report to another professional or agency e.g. GP or lawyer
b. Discuss the material with another person e.g. parent or employer
REQUESTS FOR CLIENT INFORMATION
At any stage you may request to see information which is kept on file about you, The counsellor may discuss the contents with you and/or give you a copy. Requests for access must be in writing and will be responded to within seven days and an appointment will be made if necessary for clarification purposes. You have the right to request amendments if there are inaccuracies in this information.
If you have a concern about the management of your personal information, please inform the Business Owner. Upon request you can obtain a copy of the Australian Government’s National Privacy Principles, which describes your rights and how your information should be handled. Ultimately, if you wish to lodge a formal complaint about the use of or access to, your personal information, you may co so with the Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner.