Our Helpline Confidentiality Policy
Updated November 2021
Support from the Rape Crisis Scotland helpline is free and confidential. This document sets out what confidentiality means when you contact the RCS helpline and what the limits to this confidentiality are.
When you contact the RCS helpline the information you disclose is confidential unless you:
1. Agree for us to share your personal details. For example, you may agree for us to make a referral on your behalf to another support organisation.
2. We have reason to believe that you or someone you know is at risk. More details of what this means are set out below.
Aside the boundaries set out above, what you share with the support worker you have contact with on the helpline is confidential within the organisation. This means that we will not share what you have told us outside of Rape Crisis Scotland but there may be situations where support workers need to discuss the content of support contacts with each other or with their supervisor in order to provide you with the best support possible. All staff and volunteers at Rape Crisis Scotland are bound by the organisation’s code of conduct and confidentiality policy.
Anonymised information from the helpline is collected for statistical purposes as well as brief information about the support provided, to ensure high quality and consistent support for you.
Any emails or texts you receive will be signed Annie, which is the pen name for our written support. Please be aware that the support you receive, either by phone, email or text, may be from different members of the support team.
Contact by phone - what information we have about you
All phone calls received by the Rape Crisis Scotland helpline are anonymous in that we do not have access to your phone number or any other details about you when you call.
You can choose to remain anonymous throughout your contact with us on the phone or you can choose to share details about yourself, for example for the purposes of making a referral for further support or if you want us to text you further information after a call.
If you leave a voicemail message asking for us to call you back, or we contact you by phone following a referral from another organisation, then we will have some contact details for you.
Contact by email – what information we have
When you contact us by email we will have access to your email address but will not have any further details about you unless you choose to share these with us.
Contact by text – what information we have
When you contact us by text your phone number is not visible to us. We will only know information and details about you that you choose to share with us.
Contact by webchat – what information we have
When you contact us by webchat a unique code is generated automatically and assigned to you. Your name and IP address is not visible to us and we only know information and details about you that you choose to share with us. You can choose to take a note of your unique code and enter it the next time you use our webchat support, in which case we will be able to see your one most recent webchat conversation with us. If you do not choose to enter the code, we won’t know you have used webchat before unless you choose to share this with us.
Contact by letter – what information we have
When you contact us by letter we will not have any further details about you unless you choose to share these with us.
Limits to confidentiality
If we have your contact details, as outlined above, or you choose to share identifiable information with us, you should be aware that in some situations we would need to pass this information on. This would only happen if you tell us:
- · You are a child or young person under 18, or 21 if you are looked after or accommodated, who is at risk of emotional, physical, sexual abuse or neglect
- · You are aware of a child or young person under 18, or 21 if you are looked after or accommodated, who is at risk of emotional, physical, sexual abuse or neglect
- · You have taken action to end your life or have injuries which may put your life at risk
- · You are a vulnerable adult and are at significant risk of harm.
- · You are aware of a vulnerable adult at significant risk of harm.
The support worker will be happy to explain this further to you either on the phone, by email or by text. If you have any doubt or any questions about this please ask the worker, who will be happy to discuss this in more detail so you can make up your mind before giving us any contact details or disclosing relevant information to us.
Alternatively, full copies of our privacy policies are available on request.
RCS will ensure any personal details you share with us are held confidentially by the organisation and are secure from unauthorised or inadvertent alteration or erasure.
The RCS Helpline stores personal details in accordance with the Data Protection Act of 2018.
For further information please request a copy of the Rape Crisis Scotland Data Protection Policy.