Privacy / Confidentiality
Women In Crisis (Algoma) Inc. (WIC) believes that it is the right of all persons to have their personal information remain private and confidential.
Women In Crisis also believes that clients have a right to be assured that their safety is not compromised in any way by any records, or practices observed at Women In Crisis.
Board Members, management, staff, volunteers, and women and dependents over the age of 16 will be made aware of and sign a confidentiality agreement that has been developed by Women In Crisis (Algoma) Inc. to maintain the confidentiality of all current and former shelter residents.
Confidentiality and its importance will be explained to visitors and dependents under the age of 16.
Women In Crisis (Algoma) Inc. will not confirm admission, disclose the whereabouts, or any information about women or dependents, unless there is an imminent risk to the woman and her dependents.
Confidentiality is the safeguarding of information about individuals. Every individual who uses the services of Women In Crisis (Algoma) Inc. has the right to privacy. Women In Crisis (Algoma) Inc. has the ethical obligation to protect the privacy and confidentiality of all women and dependents who receive services, including current and former residents in the shelter.
OUR PRINCIPALS OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
Confidentiality requires that:
- Client information is protected from unauthorized disclosures.
- Informed consent by a client is sought before information is exchanged between Women In Crisis (Algoma) Inc. and third parties (including referrals and other service providers).
- The client is made aware of our policy, as well as exceptions to the rules of confidentiality.
The purpose of this policy is to provide the means by which Women In Crisis (Algoma) Inc. can uphold its obligation to protect the privacy and confidentiality of clients. The policy helps to ensure that all information about an individual that is in the possession or under the control of Women In Crisis (Algoma) Inc. is treated as confidential.
Rules of Confidentiality
- Women and Dependents will be made aware of their right to privacy and confidentiality on admission.
- Staff will ensure that Consent to Release Information is signed on admission, or as needed, by the woman before releasing any information to a third party.
- Women and dependents may withdraw written consent at any time. Any release form must remain in the woman’s file. It does not leave the shelter unless there is a Court order.
Conversations about Clients
- Staff will not confirm the identity of anyone residing at the shelter unless there is an imminent risk to the woman and her dependents (i.e. Information is provided to police regarding a missing persons report).
- Only persons who have a responsibility to know about the client in the course of their duties may enter into the conversation or obtain information about that person.
- Conversations outside the agency concerning a client are not permitted unless an issue can be discussed without identifying who the client is.
- A client may be identified in conversations with other agencies only with the prior written consent of the client.
Meetings and Conversations
Meetings and conversations concerning any client, volunteer or staff person associated with Women In Crisis (Algoma) Inc. shall be held in an office or boardroom at Women In Crisis (Algoma) Inc. or an agency that is involved with the woman, with her consent, and not in any public area.
Picture Taking/Use of Video Camera/Phones/Other Technology
Written consent and release of liability must be received from a client before her/his photograph can be taken or before being filmed. The written consent and release of liability shall contain a detailed explanation of the purpose for taking it and use of it.
Exception to Rules of Confidentiality
Information may be disclosed under the following conditions:
- Where information is released with the written consent of the client and as outlined in this policy.
- Where there is a serious concern that the client and/or her children are in imminent danger to herself/himself or to another person.
- Where disclosure is under compulsion by law, either by law or by statute or by the court’s power of subpoena.
- In the case of a subpoena: Staff cannot accept a subpoena on behalf of a resident.