Code of Ethics of the Australian Association of Social Workers
Your Personal Information
As part of providing a service to you, we need to collect personal information which may include your name, contact details such as address, phone numbers, date of birth, marital status, number of children you have, as well as details of issues which you have been discussing with your counsellor.
The purpose of keeping these records is entirely for the purpose of providing a service that most effectively meets your needs. Clients’ files are held in a secure location. They are kept for 7 years after you cease seeing your counsellor. In the case of children’s files, they are help until your child turns 25. After which point these files are confidentially destroyed.
From time to time the counsellor may be consulting with their supervisor and information about your counselling sessions may be discussed. These communications are confidential, and the purpose of the supervisions is to enhance the quality of care you receive. At these times your details are de-identified.
How your information is used
This information is gathered in order to document what happens during sessions and enables the counsellor to provide a relevant and informed quality service.
We also keep sparse information for statistical and professional purposes. This information de-identified and not personal or sensitive information.
Information is only considered to be personal information if the identity of the individual is apparent or can be reasonably ascertained from the information.
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:
We have consent from you (or your legal authority) to do so.
Where there is a legal obligation to do so
If there is an immediate and specified risk of harm to an identifiable person or persons that can only be averted by disclosing information
When consulting with colleagues, ONLY when you identity is concealed.
Requests for access to 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. Written requests for access 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 me of your issue. I will do what I can to address and clarify your concerns. If you wish to lodge a formal complaint about the use of, or access to, your personal information, you may do so with the Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner on 1300 363 992, or GPO Box 5218, Sydney, NSW 1042