about westcasa

Privacy Protection

Every client that attends WestCASA has a personal file that contains:

  • Name and contact details
  • Statistics about your age, place of birth, language spoken etc
  • Type of assault i.e. childhood or adult
  • Counsellor/Advocate’s notes summarising the content of sessions

WestCASA uses the information in different ways:

Your name and contact details
We collect this information so we can contact you (if you have given us permission to do so).

Statistics (your age, gender, ethnicity etc)
This information is used to help us understand more about the population trends relating to those who are accessing our service.

Type of assault
This information helps us understand more about the work we do at WestCASA.

Counsellor/Advocate’s notes
A brief record of each counselling session is a legal requirement and also helps you and your Counsellor/Advocate to track goals and progress over time. All WestCASA staff may have access to client information in the performance of their duties. In particular, each Counsellor/Advocate undertakes regular supervision as a way of ensuring ongoing development of their counselling practice. This may mean that your information is shared with the supervisor and/or the counselling team.

The above information is recorded on paper and kept in locked filing cabinets. Files being transported to an outreach location are in a locked briefcase and accessible only by WestCASA staff. Archived files and personal information other than Counsellor/Advocate’s notes are also stored on our computer server.

This is in accordance with the Health Records Act 2001 and the WestCASA Security and Confidentiality of Records Policy.

Information from your file is only shared for the purposes of providing you with services and is not shared outside WestCASA unless you are consulted and agree to this happening.

There are some exceptions to this:

1. When a Counsellor/Advocate suspects, on reasonable grounds, that a child or young person under the age of 18 years is at risk of physical or psychological harm or neglect.

2. When a Counsellor/Advocate suspects, on reasonable grounds, that a person may seriously harm themselves or another person.

3. If there are court proceedings, your file might be subpoenaed. If this happens we will automatically engage lawyers to oppose this request to protect the privacy of your file, (Evidence {Confidential Communications} Act 1998). However, if we are unsuccessful it means that we are legally required to hand over your file. We will try to contact you to inform you of this action.

In accordance with the Health Records 2001, you have the right to access your file. No other person has access to your file.

If you would like to read your file then please ask your Counsellor/Advocate. WestCASA recommends that you read your file with your Counsellor/Advocate so that they can answer any questions you might have.

You are entitled to make changes to the file if you believe that the information in the file is inaccurate or misleading. You must explain your reasons in writing.

Your file is, however, the property of WestCASA. It may not be removed from the building. WestCASA will make copies on your behalf.

The Victorian Health Services Act 1988 and the Health Records Act 2001 governs how your information is collected, used, stored, disclosed and destroyed. Other State and Federal laws support these rules.