Privacy & Confidentiality
Guiding Principle on Privacy and Confidentiality
STOP’s practices and procedures will protect and respect client’s privacy, both in terms of face-to-face contact and client records. However in some circumstances, there will be limits to the level of privacy and confidentiality where there are risks to clients or to other persons (refer to Limits to Confidentiality).
In all discussions with clients and their families pertaining to privacy, consent and records, STOP Clinicians shall ensure that the language used is understandable, culturally sensitive and concise and that an opportunity is offered, both at the time of the initial meeting and during at least one subsequent discussion, for client’s and family members to ask questions or seek clarification as to the meaning and the implications of these policies.
Limits to Confidentiality
STOP clinicians will take seriously any threat or concern about a client’s personal safety or the safety of others. As such any information disclosed to STOP clinicians by a client or from another source that relates to a serious concern of current or intended harm to the client or to others or current or intended sexual abusing/sexual offending, may not necessarily be kept private.
STOP clinicians will endeavour when at all possible, to first talk to clients about these concerns with a view to the client taking appropriate action regarding the safety concerns or to consent to the release of information as necessary. However if consent is not given, in certain circumstances as outlined above, this information may be reported to parents, partners, support people, Child, Youth and Family, Psychiatric Emergency Service, Police or other professionals responsible for the safety of the client or others. This release of information may possibly be against the wishes of the client in order to protect the client’s safety or the safety of others.
Clients Rights Regarding Information
STOP is required to keep adequate and accurate records of the services it has delivered. Client files are the principle method of recording details of the service delivered to clients. Other records of a non-identifying statistical nature are used for the organisation’s accountability to funding stakeholders and for research purposes.
Use of Information
- Clients are advised at the first contact that notes will be taken of contact and how this information will be stored and used Clients are advised that information may be shared with other professionals both within the STOP team, and with other agencies, where this is considered to be relevant to helping with the client’s treatment
- Existing information held by STOP as a result of earlier consultations may also be used to help with assessment and treatment
- Reports regarding client’s assessment and treatment will be provided to the referrer (e.g. Child Youth and Family, Community Probation, Mental Health Service or community agencies or professionals)
Right of Access to, and Correction of, Information
Clients are also advised that information that is provided by themselves or others about the client’s sexual abusing/sexual offending behaviour and personal information will be securely held at the offices of STOP, and only authorised persons will have access to such information. Furthermore clients are advised that they have the right to request access to information about themselves, and to request the information be corrected, if they believe it to be incorrect. Any such requests are managed in a manner consistent with the Privacy Act, 1993. Any inaccuracies in the client records, revealed as a result of this process, shall be immediately rectified, with evidence provided that this has occurred.
Privacy Practices for Clients attending STOP
The following practices are observed to maximise client’s privacy:
- No personal information is obtained and clinicians do not discuss client information in the waiting areas
- Efforts are made to ensure clients and their families have minimal time in the waiting areas
- In Christchurch there are separate waiting rooms, on different floors, for clients and their families attending the Adolescent and Children’s Programmes and Adult Programmes
- Telephone discussions with clients or third parties are conducted in the privacy of clinician’s offices
- Client information is not displayed in public, or waiting areas. Any client information on notice boards or white boards will be held in clinician’s offices. These are not accessible to other clients or unauthorised persons
- Signs outside the office and building are discrete and do not refer to the nature of the work undertaken. This protects the disclosure to any third party of the nature of the problem a client may be presenting with.
- STOP will not divulge or discuss the personal details of any client in any media reports made by STOP.
A client and/or family member has a right to complain about any perceived breach of privacy. A notice in the waiting area is displayed, explaining in simple language, the process for a client to initiate a complaint.
For further information about the complaints process, click here: Complaint Process