Confidentiality Policy

Herts Area Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Centre (HARCSAC) is a registered charity.   We work with victims and survivors of sexual violence and child sexual abuse, providing independent, specialist support and promoting and representing their rights and needs.

What information do we collect about you?

HARCSAC collects personal information about you when you first contact our service, and during our meetings, phone calls and other contacts with you.  This information is likely to include your contact details, date of birth, age, gender and information about your current situation and the sexual violence or childhood sexual abuse you have experienced.  We may also collect sensitive personal information, including information about your race and ethnicity and any medical conditions you may have.  All data collected is anonymised and maybe used externally (for example in our annual report).  We will hold data for a maximum of 7 years after you finish using our services.

We have data protection and privacy procedures in place to ensure that your information is:

  • Kept securely.
  • Accurate and up to date.
  • Not retained once it is no longer required for its stated purposes.

How do we use the information we collect about you?

We use your personal data for the following purposes:

  1. To ensure we provide you with appropriate services.
  2. To communicate with other professionals and third parties (e.g., clinical supervisor, police, social workers, health professionals) to ensure you receive the support you need.   We will only do this with your written consent (see below, Sharing information about you).
  3. To report back to our funders about the services we provide, and to demonstrate the need for our services.  Your data will always be anonymised and not identifiable as you, and therefore is not classed as personal data.

Sharing information about you

  1. We will only share information about you with third parties, including other professionals if we have your specific written consent to do so.  You will be asked to complete a Consent Form to indicate which third parties or professionals you are happy for us to share your personal data with.  The only times where we may share information without your specific written consent are where there is a legal requirement to share information, or if we are concerned about your safety or the safety of others.
  2. You may withdraw your consent to share information about you at any time.

What are your rights around your personal data?

You have the following rights:

  • The right to request a copy of the personal data which HARCSAC holds about you.
  • The right to request that HARCSAC corrects any personal data if it is found to be inaccurate or out of date.
  • The right to request your personal data is erased where it is no longer necessary for HARCSAC to retain this data.
  • The right to withdraw your consent to share your information at any time.
  • The right to request that HARCSAC transfer your data directly to another agency.
  • Where there is a dispute in relation to the accuracy or processing of your personal data, the right to request that a restriction is placed on further processing.
  • The right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).

Changes to the way we use your data

If we wish to use your personal data for a new purpose, not covered by our Data Protection Policy, then we will provide you with a new notice explaining this new use prior to using your data in this way.  If necessary, we will seek your consent.


Although we do not record the content of counselling meetings, anything you tell us during a face-to-face session or a telephone call is confidential as described above, however, HARCSAC will not be able to maintain this position in the following circumstances:

  • If there are grave concerns after receiving information that an identifiable child/vulnerable adult is at risk of significant harm or if there is current abuse of an identifiable vulnerable person.  In these circumstances we will conduct a full and open discussion with you about our intended actions to inform the authorities.
  • We will continue working with you if you are prepared to work with us and the statutory organisations in stopping the abuse.  If, however, you are not prepared to do this, then we will end all counselling with you.
  • If we are instructed by the courts to reveal details about you or receive a witness summons to appear in court.

Client confidentiality is maintained even after volunteers have left the organisation.

If HARCSAC needs to revise its confidentiality or privacy polices we will notify you and explain the revisions if you are still an existing client at the time of the change.

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