1. Our commitment to privacy
Your privacy is a priority for safe steps.
When dealing with your personal information we observe our obligations under Part 5A of the Family Violence Protection Act (2008), part 41ZA Child and Wellbeing and Safety Act (2018) Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and comply with the Australian Privacy Principles, as well other relevant State legislation.
This policy sets out how we will collect, use, store, disclose and de-identify your personal information.
2. The types of information we collect
safe steps collects information that is both clinical and non-clinical. There are clear distinctions of the collecting, use and disclosure of the differing categories of information we procure.
The types of personal information we collect include:
- contact details (name, address, telephone numbers, email, etc);
- employment history;
- educational qualifications;
- complaint details;
- donation history; and
- credit card and/or bank account details.
The types of sensitive information we collect include records of communication between us, which may include from time to time, information you provide us or we collect from others. This includes, but is not limited to, the following types of information:
- professional and practice information;
- health information;
- racial or ethnic origin;
- personal financial information;
- personal credit card data; and
- any idiosyncratic or personal formation we obtain from you or others about you.
3. Why We Collect Private Information About You
safe steps Family Violence Response centre (safe steps) is a state-wide not-for-profit service for women and children experiencing violence and abuse from a partner or ex-partner, another family member or someone close to them. safe steps provides emergency accommodation, a free 24-hour crisis line, outreach services, advocacy, referral, and information and support services to enable women and children to become – and stay – free from violence.
We collect and provide information about our clients and children to assess and manage their wellbeing and safety only with other prescribed Information Sharing Entities.
In respect of our clients and children within our service, when we collect, use and disclose information in the provision of client wellbeing and safety and to eliminate any immediate serious threat or, if the information is required or authorised by another law. We may also receive personal and /or sensitive information about you from a third party.
We also collect information about potential supporters of our organisation so as to allow us to communicate with them, introduce them to our organisation and inform them of the work we do.
We do not use the information in any way other than in the furtherance of our objects and purposes.
We might also use your information for the following purposes:
- assessment and management of identified risk to family violence and the sharing with other Identified Sharing Entities (ISEs)
- for the immediate reason for which you have provided it to us (for example, to enable us to offer our services to you, to provide assistance and/or referrals, to process your request, payment, etc);
- to maintain contact with you about our work, to report to you about our work, or to encourage you to learn about what we do; and
- any other purpose directly related to our work and for which you have provided consent (where it is reasonably required by law).
We don’t rent, sell or exchange your information. Information is shared only with other prescribed organisation known as an Information Sharing Entities (ISE) and Risk Assessment Entities (RAE).The types of organisations to whom we normally disclose your personal information include government bodies as required by law such as Department of Justice, Victoria Police, Department of Human Services or service providers that are funded by government and subject to government data collection and audit processes.
Reasonable steps to ensure that these organisations are bound by confidentiality and privacy obligations when handling your personal information.
If you don’t want your personal information disclosed to another organisation, please let us know either at the time we collect your information, although information that is relevant to assessing or managing a risk of family violence to a women and her children will be shared.
Sometimes we may be legally required to disclose your information, for example, to government departments.
We may also sometimes share non-personal, non-sensitive and de-identified information with research organisations.
4. How we collect your information
We may collect information from you either directly. Information we collect from third parties may be by formal or informal means.
Where we collect information from third parties and it is not personal information that is contained in a Commonwealth Record, we will take reasonable steps to destroy or de-identify the information as required by law.
We collect personal information about clients, supporters, donors, volunteers, employees, contractors and visitors to our events. We collect your information in the following ways:
- face to face contact;
- electronically including through our website and online surveys;
- via social media messages or conversation;
- during phone calls;
- voice or image recordings;
- whilst delivering and administering services at our facilities; and
- from forms, coupons and other correspondence (both in writing and electronically).
5. How we use your information
We only use your personal and sensitive information for the reason we collect it as set out above and for the purpose(s) for which it was collected, or as otherwise permitted by law.
We will not disclose the above information that we collect to affiliates or third parties without your consent.
6. Accessing and correcting your personal information
You can access your information by asking us. Occasionally, we may need to refuse your request to access information, for example, where granting you access would infringe someone else’s privacy.
When you request access, we will ask you to provide some form of identification so that we can ensure that you are the person to whom the information relates.
In some cases, we may also ask you to pay a reasonable fee to cover the cost of access.
We will aim to respond to you within 28 days of receiving your request. If we’re not able to help with your request, you will receive a written explanation as to why.
7. Complaints about a breach of your privacy
If you are concerned about how we have collected or managed your personal information we request you follow the procedure set out below.
- Contact the Privacy Officer by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org call the Privacy Officer on (03) 9928 9600.
- Download and complete a Complaints Form.
- Submit your completed Complaints Form to the Privacy Officer by email email@example.com post to GPO Box 4396 Melbourne Vic 3001. In order to effectively address your complaint, we may request further information from you about your complaint and the reasons behind it.
- After we receive all the information we need from you, allow us approximately 28 days to address your complaint.
If you’re not satisfied with how we have handled your complaint you can also contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) via oaic.gov.au.
The OAIC is a government body independent of us. It has the power to investigate complaints about possible interference with your privacy.
8. Securing your information
We take reasonable steps to ensure the security of personal and sensitive information we hold and to protect it against loss, misuse or unauthorised access, destruction, use, modification or disclosure.
Our IT systems are password protected and comply with applicable security standards.
Only authorised personnel are permitted to access these details.
It is our policy to:
- permanently de-identify personal information where reasonable and possible; and
- destroy personal information once there is no longer a legal or business need for us to retain it.
It is your right to be dealt with anonymously, provided that is it lawful and practicable.
We will try to accommodate a request for anonymity wherever possible; however we note that in some circumstances, this may prevent us from practically and effectively communicating with you.
If this is the case we will notify you.
10. Health information
As part of our services, we may collect health information (such as your medical history).
When collecting health information from you, we will obtain your consent to such collection and explain how the information will be used and disclosed.
If health information is collected from a third party (such as from your doctor), we will inform you that this information has been collected and will explain how this information will be used and disclosed.
We will not use health information beyond the consent provided by you, unless your further consent is obtained or in accordance with one of the exceptions under the Privacy Act or in accordance with another applicable law.
If we use your health information for research or statistical purposes, it will be de-identified if practicable to do so.
11. Cookies and Links to Other Websites
When you visit this website a record of your visit is logged. The following data is supplied by your browser:
- Your IP address and/or domain name;
- Your operating system (type of browser and platform);
- The date, time and length of your visit to the website; and
- The resources you accessed and the documents you downloaded.
To improve our website, we use ‘cookies’ in order to track individuals who use our website. A cookie is a small amount of data that is transferred to the individual’s browser by a Web server and can only be read by the server that gave it to the individual. It functions as the individual’s identification card, and enables us to record the individual’s passwords, purchases, and preferences. It cannot be executed as code or deliver viruses.
Most browsers are initially set to accept cookies. An individual can set their browser to notify them when they receive a cookie, giving them the chance to decide whether to accept it or not. (For some Web pages that require an authorisation or for our online donations, cookies are not optional. Users choosing not to accept cookies will probably not be able to access those pages.)
This information is used to compile statistical information about the use of our website. It is not used for any other purpose. If you do not want ‘cookies’ to be used please adjust your browser settings to disable them.
Links to other websites
Our website may contain links to third party websites, and third party websites may also have links to our website.
We encourage you to read the privacy policies of any website you link to from our website.
*The online donation form is an exception as it is an external site embedded on our site therefore does not collect information.
12. Social media policy
Social media platforms provide a great opportunity to support safe steps and to influence social change to eliminate violence against women and children.
Whilst using social media to advocate for the rights for women and children to be safe and live free of violence, we do so within the parameters of the following guidelines.
If you have any queries about these guidelines, please contact the Manager Marketing, Fundraising & Communications via firstname.lastname@example.org
Advice and support
safe steps does not provide advice or support to anyone who is experiencing family violence or to someone who knows or is close to a person experiencing family violence via its social media accounts. This includes answering specific questions or queries concerning someone experiencing family violence.
safe steps will not provide support via its social media accounts, regarding a life threatening or crisis situation.
If you require assistance, please contact our 24/7 crisis line number on 1800 015 188 (toll free). Or in an emergency, please dial 000.
Availability and feedback
safe steps aims to engage online and welcomes feedback from its followers and supporters.
safe steps endeavours to read all replies, mentions and messages on social media but will not always reply individually to every message received.
Social media accounts are generally monitored regularly during business hours, Monday to Friday.
If you follow safe steps on Twitter (@safestepsFV or @safestepsCEO) this does not mean that safe steps will automatically follow you back.
If followed by safe steps this does not imply endorsement of any kind by the organisation. Similarly, re-tweets by safe steps does not necessarily imply endorsements.
safe steps Facebook page is public and we welcome anyone who wishes to become a supporter however this does not imply endorsement of any kind by safe steps.
Comments which include harassment, inappropriate language, and/or personal abuse will be removed. safe stepsretains the right to remove such comments at our discretion.
We also retain the right and at our discretion to remove comment that conflict with the ethical position, values and beliefs of the safe steps.
Values that underpin the organisation are:
- Non violent
- Feminist (feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality with men)
- Ethical and respectful
- Authoritative and evidence based
safe steps believes that violence against women and children:
- Is a violation of human rights, a crime against women, children and society; and the entire community is responsible for its elimination;
- Is an abuse of power based on gender, race, class, disability, sexuality and age inequality; and
- Includes emotional, psychological, physical, sexual and financial abuse.
Comments, posts and tweets made on safe steps social media accounts that contain private and/or confidential information, such as telephone numbers and addresses, will be removed.
Off topic and repetitive comments on our social media channels and blog may be removed. We invite feedback – however it is best shared by emailing email@example.com
Any comment on a safe steps social media account that is defamatory or potentially defamatory, in breach of confidence, prejudicial, and/or in contempt of court will be removed.
13. Returns and refunds policy
Donations of $2 or more to safe steps Family Violence Response Centre are tax deductible.
Charitable donations to safe steps Family Violence Response Centre are non-refundable.