Designated Responsible Officer: Fatima Qureshi
Aanchal Women’s Aid is committed to protecting your privacy and any personal and/or sensitive information that you give us in order for us to provide you with a quality service.
1. Personal and/or sensitive information
This information will include:
- Your name, date and place of birth, address and contact details;
- Names and dates of birth of your children;
- Languages spoken, particularly if English is not your first language;
- Specific information relating to family court, domestic violence or child protection legal matters (including copies of relevant documents);
- Case notes of crisis interventions, contacts and counselling sessions;
- Financial information for the purposes of welfare rights and benefits assessment;
- Physical and mental health information
2. Children’s personal and/or sensitive information
The child or young person will always be communicated to directly.
Personal and/or sensitive information about children will be treated with the same level of scrutiny and care as adults. AWA’s privacy note will be communicated to the child in a manner which they are able to understand. In addition, wherever possible, consent from a parent/carer/guardian will be sought for information to be obtained, stored and shared for the purposes of providing a quality service to children up to the age of 16.
For young persons aged 17-18 years, an AWA officer will make an assessment about their ability to understand the request and to give informed consent. Should the AWA officer have any doubts, parental/carer/guardian consent will be sought.
On occasion, a child may seek AWA services and may not wish for their parents to know. On such occasions, consent will be sought by-proxy from a responsible adult such as a school teacher or social worker. If a child is seeking support due to an emergency situation, their data will be received, stored and processed in accordance to protect their vital interests.
3. How we get your information
This information will be provided to us by you and requested by an Aanchal officer. You may be providing this information verbally or in writing.
It is possible that your details may be provided to Aanchal Women’s Aid by another agency such as the police or local authority on a referral form. Our referrals forms explicitly request that your consent is obtained for the referral and upon first contact, this will be confirmed with you. If consent was not obtained in advance, due to the nature of our work, we will contact you once to obtain consent. If you do not consent, due to the nature of our work and safeguarding responsibilities, we will only keep record of your name, your date of birth and the same information about any children or vulnerable persons in your care. All other information will be deleted.
You do not have to provide all or any of the information requested by Aanchal Women’s Aid. You should be aware that we can only provide you with a full service if we have all information requested, for example, if you do not wish to share your financial information we will not be able to provide you with the welfare rights and benefits support and advocacy service.
4. Collection and storage of information
Information will be collected, recorded and stored on case files and a client database. This information is confidential and necessary precautions will be taken to keep it safe and secure. All files are stored in secure locked cabinets and the database has a password and firewall system. Aanchal premises are located in buildings that have adequate security measures in place. Wherever possible, Aanchal Women’s Aid will ask for your consent to collect and store this information, unless there is a need to have this information to protect your or your children’s lives.
5. Disclosure of information
The personal and/or sensitive information you provide will not be disclosed or shared with anyone else without your prior verbal and/or written agreement. There are instances when personal and/or sensitive information will be disclosed:
- If required by law, for example when documents are subpoenaed by the Court.
- When there is a duty of care to protect the safety of clients, children, staff or other third parties.
- For statistical information provided for research (always anonymised).
- If requested by our funding body to ensure quality service delivery is being provided (with client consent).
6. Accurate Information
Aanchal Women’s Aid will attempt to ensure that personal and/or sensitive information is accurate and up to date but you are responsible for informing us of any changes to your personal details or circumstances.
7. Access to information
You can ask for access to your information verbally or in writing and we will undertake to provide this as soon as possible. You will be required to sign a consent form and your information can be posted to you or to your legal representative, if required, by registered post.
The funding body may request your contact details in order to check on this agency’s service quality. These details will only be provided with your consent.
8. Complaints about information
If you have any complaints about the privacy of your personal and/or sensitive information you can make a complaint in writing to the Director of the Centre. All complaints will be dealt with in accordance with the agency’s complaint policy.
The information in this policy will be communicated to all service users upon contact with AWA. The policy will be reiterated to service users every six months or sooner as required thereafter. The information in this policy may be communicated in writing (letter, email or text), verbally or via signage in areas where service users attend.