Confidentiality and privacy
Open Arms provides free and confidential counselling. Open Arms is committed to preserving and upholding your rights to privacy and confidentiality. We are bound by the Privacy Act 1988 and the Australian Privacy Principles.
Department of Veterans' Affairs
Under normal circumstances your clinical information will not be released to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), other government agencies or external parties without your consent.
Your information may only be shared under exceptional circumstances or in accordance with the law. This occurs where your safety or the safety of others is at serious risk, in serious criminal matters, or in response to a court direction.
Department of Defence
Information is not shared with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) if you self-refer to Open Arms.
If you are a member of the ADF and you have been referred through your ADF medical officer or Defence psychologist, periodic reports regarding your treatment will be provided to the ADF Referring Authority.
Confidential record keeping
Open Arms records are stored securely, and every effort is made to ensure that your counselling sessions and contact with us remains confidential.
Open Arms keeps confidential notes and reports on your counselling and group program attendance so we can provide you with appropriate professional help.
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 Open Arms policy to disclose ‘relevant’ information to parent/s or legal guardians.
Open Arms requires parental permission for the referral and treatment of all persons under 15 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. For adolescents aged 15 to 17 years, the young person’s maturity and their preferences regarding parental involvement will be considered prior to services being provided.
Disclosure of information to parents
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:
- maturity of the minor
- nature of the issues
- statutory or other obligations which may need to be considered
- safety of the minor
- any protection orders that note the interests of the young person.
Open Arms will inform the young person what information will be disclosed.
Open Arms counsellors and staff have an understanding of veteran and military culture that assists them to deliver specialised support and care to members of this community.
If you have served in the ADF, you, your partner and your children can access support through Open Arms.