Collection of information
We know your privacy is important to you. We have processes in place to ensure that when you contact us or use our services in any way, we meet our obligations to you under the Privacy Act (2020) and the Health Information Privacy Code (2020). Your information can only be accessed by authorised staff and is protected against unauthorised use, modification, access, or disclosure.
All of our staff and volunteers have signed a confidentiality agreement.
When you call or text us we want you to understand how we manage your information.
How we collect and use your information
We usually collect personal information directly from you when you contact us via phone, text, or by completing a feedback form on our website. This may include your name, gender, ethnicity, contact details, and information about the issue you tell us about.
We sometimes collect or receive information from a third party such as emergency services, for example from a member of your family/whanau or from someone who is looking after you. If someone contacts us on behalf of another person, we also collect the name and contact details of the person contacting us.
We collect and use your information to make safe and sound decisions, enabling us to provide you with the most effective services possible. This includes providing you with information about other services, and with your agreement, may include connecting with other services.
You can choose not to provide information to us. However, if you choose not to provide relevant information to us this may affect our ability to give you the best possible service. If you don’t want to give us any information about yourself, or only provide limited information, we will give you the best service we can using the information you do provide.
You are in control of your contact with the Helplines and we will not contact you with the only exceptions being; if you have requested a call-back and/or contacting frequent users who may benefit from a calling or texting plan, if we believe there is a risk of serious harm to you or any other person, or in an emergency situation when we may call you back on the number you called us.
If we do try to contact you, and we can’t get hold of you, we will not leave a detailed text or voice message.
Recording of information
We record all of our telephone conversations and keep a transcript of message-based conversations for 3 months to help ensure that the service we provide meets the highest standards of safety and quality. Recording of phone calls, texts, and other contacts is considered internationally to be the best practice for services like the ones we provide.
People who contact our services may be in life-threatening situations or experiencing acute distress. We want to ensure that there are no barriers for people getting the support they are seeking. This is in line with international best practices. We believe that responding to immediate distress and imminent risk takes precedent over detailing data collection processes. For these reasons, there are no messages about recordings on our telephone services or via our text service. This is similar to the way emergency services such as the Police and ambulance services operate.
These recordings are stored securely and access is tracked and audited. The recordings are only accessed by senior staff for carrying out quality assurance, audit, or risk management activities to enable us to ensure that the services we provide are safe and effective. We may also use the recordings to ensure we can appropriately investigate and manage a complaint.
Sharing your information
We will only share your information where we are permitted or required by law. This might include:
- Disclosing relevant information where that is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious threat to someone’s life, health, or safety or a threat to public health or safety.
- For quality assurance, audit, and complaint management as set out below.
When we disclose your personal information to third parties, we make all reasonable efforts to ensure we disclose only relevant information and that it is accurate, complete, and up to date.
Storage of information
Lifeline has systems and procedures in place to protect your information from misuse and loss, unauthorised access, modification, or disclosure. Your information is stored securely in an approved data centre and is accessed only by staff and volunteers providing services to you, or by senior staff in the course of carrying out service quality reviews and audits. Our staff and volunteers all sign confidentiality agreements when they join us, and there are systems and policies in place to prevent them from sharing data inappropriately.
If you want to see a copy of your information
If you want to check the information that we hold about you, please see below for contact details. We will ask you to provide evidence that you are in fact the person whose information you are requesting, or that you are entitled to this information.
Sometimes it may not be possible to give you a copy of all the information if it contains details about other people, or if it would be unsafe to provide the information in that it may lead to harm being done to another person. If we refuse to provide you with access to your record or to update your record in the way you request, we will tell you of our reasons for refusal. If you want us to do so we will attach a statement from you of the correction sought to your record.
If you believe any information we hold about you is incorrect you can ask us to correct it. We will either make the correction or explain to you why we are not prepared to do so. In that case, you may ask for a statement of your views to be placed on your record.
Making a complaint
If you have a privacy complaint or concern, especially if you think your privacy has been affected or you wish to complain about our refusal to update or grant access to your information, you should contact us as detailed below for an examination of your complaint.
Contact our Privacy Officer about privacy-related matters:
If after that you are still unhappy, you can complain to the Privacy Commissioner. See www.privacy.org.nz for how to make a complaint.