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Confidentiality, Privacy & Storage of Client Information
All client information is maintained in the strictest confidence. No information whatsoever is to be passed out of the service without the client’s permission, unless failure to do so is likely to result in a person being placed in severe, immediate, danger. WSA staff are legally required to advise the Department of Family & Community Services of any child who is believed to be at risk of severe child abuse.
Where a client gives consent to release information, to help with meeting her goals, this is recorded on a “Release of Client Information” form, which speciafies what information may be released and when and to whom it may be released. The form is signed and dated by the client.
All client support is carried out in a private space, so that each client may speak freely without distractions or fear of being overheard. Occasionally, for training purposes, WSA may wish to have a less experienced worker present as an observer during a client interview. in these cases the client’s permission is sought and the trainee worker will only be present if the client is in agreement.
Clients have a right to share only the information they wish. In order to help our clients effectively and safely WSA staff may need to know about certain aspects of the client’s situation and history, and for this reason support workers will seek this information from clients however ultimately each client has a right to decide what information she wishes to share. WSA staff are not permitted to seek information that is not relevant to their client’s case work no staff member may access information relating to any client with whom she is not actively working.
Safe Storage of Client Information.
Client files are to be kept in lockable file bays provided for this purpose, except when they are in use. When the office is unattended, file-bays and offices are locked.
Files may not be removed from the Shelter unless authorised, by the manager, for the purpose of undertaking client work at another secure venue approved by WSA for the purpose of client work. In these cases files are transported in a locked brief-case provided for this purpose.
Files are stored at the Shelter for a period of approximately two years. After this they are stored in a safe archive facility for up to 25 years, or until 7 years after the client’s youngest child turned 18 years of age.