Confidentiality and Privacy
VVCS is committed to preserving and upholding your rights to privacy and confidentiality. Building and maintaining the trust of our clients is important to us.
VVCS records are stored securely and every effort is made to ensure that your counselling sessions and contact with VVCS are confidential. VVCS keeps confidential notes and reports on your counselling and group program attendance so we can provide you with appropriate professional help and for planning and evaluation purposes.
Your clinical information will not be released to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, other government agencies or external parties without your consent, unless there are exceptional circumstances where information may have to be released in accordance with the law. This would only occur where your safety or the safety of others is at serious risk, in serious criminal matters, or in response to a court direction.
If you are a member of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and you have been referred through the ADF Agreement for Services, VVCS is required to provide periodic reports regarding your treatment to the ADF Referring Authority.
Supporting children and adolescents
VVCS provides family counselling for minors where the issues involved relate to the parent’s eligible ADF service. VVCS counselling services provided to minors occur with the active involvement of parents in most circumstances.
VVCS generally requires parental permission for the delivery of services to persons less than 18 years of age. The law regards minors as being capable of giving voluntary informed consent to the provision of health services if they have sufficient maturity, usually around the age of adolescence. VVCS requires parental permission for the referral and treatment of all persons under 15 years of age. For adolescents aged 15 – 17 years, other factors, including the young person’s maturity and their preferences regarding parental involvement will be considered prior to services being provided.
Young people have the same right to confidentiality in counselling as adults, within the context of parental responsibility. Children and adolescents should be aware that it is VVCS policy to disclose ‘relevant’ information to parent/s or legal guardians.
In deciding whether to disclose any information about a child or adolescent to their parent/s or other relevant person, the counsellor will take into account the maturity of the minor, the nature of the issues and any statutory or other obligations which may need to be considered, including the safety of the minor and any protection orders that note the interests of the young person.
VVCS will inform the young person what information will be disclosed.