Relationship Matters is committed to providing you with a quality service which includes ensuring that your privacy is maintained. Relationship Matters is bound by the Privacy Act 1988 and the Health Records Act 2001. Under both the Privacy Act and the Health Records Act you are entitled to:
- know why your personal information is being collected and how it will be used;
- ask for access to your records, including your health information;
- take up opportunities to stop receiving direct marketing material;
- correct inaccurate information about you;
- know which organisations will be given your personal information;
- ensure organisations only use your information for purposes they have told you about;
- find out what information an organisation keeps about you and how they manage it.
Sensitive and Confidential Information
Except in certain circumstances we need your consent to collect, store, use and disclose information about you.
Collection, storage, use & disclosure of your personal information
Relationship Matters collects information about you for use in our own record keeping systems and for government reporting reasons, if you give consent, at your first appointment/session. This information is collected from you via forms that you complete when attending our organisation, or through information which might be provided to Relationship Matters by the person or agency referring you to Relationship Matters and, through conversations you have with your counsellor, course facilitator/practitioner.
Our own record keeping systems
Relationship Matters keeps records of your personal and contact details so that we can contact you in case of the necessity to change appointment or course times. This data is kept in a secure system. Your individual counsellor, dispute resolution practitioner or education facilitator also needs to keep case notes, participation records or information presented by you in engaging our services.
Relationship Matters’ staff members may also see your personal information in the conduct of routine business (including ascertaining whether you have used our services previously). All Relationship Matters’ staff sign an Oath of Confidentiality at the commencement of their employment. All information collected by Relationship Matters is stored as written case records, electronic files and/or computerised data records. Relationship Matters operates a fully networked computerised system that has ‘firewall protection’ to stop unauthorised people from accessing data. All Relationship Matters’ computers and systems are password controlled and passwords are routinely changed.
Paper-based records are kept in secure, locked storage and archived in secured storage. Records are kept for seven years and any records which are destroyed are either shredded or disposed of through secure document destruction services. Children’s records are kept until the child turns 25 years of age.
Government data collection systems
As part of our funding agreement, the Commonwealth Government requires us to enter data onto the DSS Data Exchange national data collection system. This data assists DSS and AGD to gather information on whether our services are useful and helpful. Your participation in this Data Exchange is very important and completely voluntary. If you do not consent, will we not provide the DSS Data Exchange with information that personally identifies you (i.e. your name, home address). To protect your privacy DSS create a unique code from the answers you write on the registration form so that your information can be used in a way that does not identify you. DSS, AGD and agencies engaged to conduct research or evaluation are required to use the unique code. Using this unique code it is possible to link all the services that a person has received but not to know who the person was that received them.
Similarly, Relationship Matters must collect de-identified information on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services, where funding applies to those services and enter it into their data system called IRIS. Relationship Matters may also, from time to time, enter into contracts with other agencies who might specify similar accountability requirements. This Privacy Statement also covers those contracts.
Relationship Matters trusts that you find your experience with us to be helpful and respectful at all times.