Safe Zone Support

It takes courage to reach out for support, and sometimes it is easier to do this anonymously.

Through Safe Zone Support, specialised counsellors with an understanding of the military culture and experience, can offer you care without needing to know who you are. When you call Safe Zone Support, it is up to you how much or how little personal information you share, and your calls are not recorded.

Whether you have an immediate need or want someone to talk to about longer-term issues, our counsellors—who are trained mental health professionals—are well placed to support you where and when you need it. 

If you choose to provide Safe Zone Support counsellors with personal information, it will be handled in accordance with the Privacy Act. To better understand your privacy considerations, it is important you read the information below.

Safe Zone is being hosted by Open Arms but is a separate service.

As well as this service, Open Arms has a range of self-help tools that can help build resilience during stressful times. To find out more visit the High Res website.

Privacy

Open Arms follows the policies of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs but has separate record keeping systems.  The Departmental legal obligations when collecting and handling your personal information are outlined in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), and in particular, the Australian Privacy Principles found in that Act.  The Privacy Act requires the Department to have a privacy policy, a copy of that policy is available on the Department’s website. The privacy policy tells you how the Department manages your personal information.

The following information is specific to Safe Zone Support and should be considered alongside the Department’s broader privacy policy. 

It is not our intention to collect your personal information to use this service. It is up to you how much or how little personal information you share with us. Where your personal information is collected, it will be handled in accordance with the Privacy Act.

Anonymity

You are able to interact with us anonymously and your call will not be recorded.

This service is aimed at providing you an opportunity to receive important counselling and support services without the need to disclose your identity. We will not ask for your name or any other personal information where it is not required. However, when calling in, our IT systems will display caller ID. Because of this, we will see the number you are calling from unless it is a hidden or a private number but it will not be recorded on file.

If in the course of interacting with you anonymously, we receive identifying personal information about you, we will only disclose that information to protect you or others. For example, we may provide your phone number to emergency services if we think there is a risk of harm to you or another person.

It is your choice about how much or how little information you provide to us.

We will not divert or transfer your call to the Open Arms or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs enquiry lines unless it is at your direct request. This is to ensure you can engage with us anonymously. If you require any additional services or support from Open Arms or the Department, relevant contact details will be provided to you during your call.

Information collected in providing a Safe Zone Support service

We collect information that you provide to Safe Zone Support as a result of our role in providing services directly to you.

For example, a counsellor will create an electronic record of the call. This record will contain minimal details of your contact, including the date and time of the call, its duration and brief details of the call outcome (e.g. such as whether you were provided with counselling and referred to other support services, or if a security incident arose and what action was taken to address that incident).

Your name and contact details are not recorded unless you provide them to us.

General Disclosure Practices

Your privacy is important to us. We will not disclose personal information to another person or organisation (including police, emergency services and other government agencies) unless it is authorised under the Privacy Act. For example, we may disclose your personal information and details of the call if:

  • you have consented to the disclosure of your personal information;
  • you would reasonably expect, or have been told, that information of that kind is usually passed to those individuals, bodies or agencies and the disclosure;
  • the disclosure is otherwise required or authorised by law;
  • we reasonably believe that the disclosure is reasonably necessary for an enforcement-related activity;
  • we reasonably believe that the disclosure will prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to somebody's life, health or safety (including your own) or serious threat to public health, property or public safety.

Security and storage of information

The information you provide in the call is confidential, so we must handle it in a secure and responsible manner. 

Access to Safe Zone Support records is controlled. Only authorised staff and those with a business need to know, will have access to these records.

More information about how the Department handles personal information can be found in the Department’s privacy policy.