SWSLC Full Privacy Policy

South West Sydney Legal Centre (“SWSLC”) is committed to protecting the privacy of your personal information.

SWSLC complies with the Privacy Act, 1988 (Cth) (“Privacy Act”) and the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) which regulate the way in which we can collect, store, use and disclose personal information.

 

What is personal information?

Personal information is information or an opinion about an individual or about an individual who is reasonably identifiable.

 

What types of personal information do we collect?

We collect and hold personal information if:

  • it is reasonably necessary for us to have the information and
  • it is for a lawful purpose directly related to one of our functions

We may collect the following types of personal information. Additional types of personal information may also be collected depending on the nature of our dealings with you:

  • Name
  • Contact details
  • Age or date of birth
  • Nationality
  • Race or ethnicity
  • Language background
  • Indigenous status
  • Any Disability
  • Employment status
  • Income and Financial details
  • Health status
  • Religious beliefs
  • Sexual orientation
  • Information about your circumstances
  • Information about the matter for which you are seeking legal assistance
  • Your caring and support situation
  • Information about any criminal record
  • Additional information that is provided to us by referring organisations and considered necessary for us to provide a service
  • Survey responses where you participate in our surveys
  • Your organisation’s details and payment details if applicable if you attend a professional development or training program we host
  • We also collect and hold personal information about staff, volunteers, job applicants, contractors and members including for example, a resume provided in the context of a job application

 

Sensitive information

Some personal information such as information about a person’s health, religious beliefs and affiliations, ethnic or racial origin, sexual preferences and or practices or criminal record is sensitive and requires a higher level of protection under the Privacy Act. We may collect your sensitive information when we have your consent or the collection is required by law and when collection is reasonably necessary for us to carry out one or more of our functions or activities.

 

How do we collect and hold personal information?

We collect personal information in a number of ways:

  • directly from you (e.g. when we meet with you)
  • through access and use of our website (see further below)
  • when forms are completed
  • through communications with us such as by letter, email or telephone
  • from referring third parties such as Legal Aid, the Department of Communities and Justice, the NSW Police and other non-government organisations that, with your consent, refer you to us for assistance
  • during a legal matter, for example from other parties in a dispute and from courts and tribunals
  • during a Safety Action Meeting, which is a meeting of government agencies and invited non-government service providers aimed at preventing or reducing serious threats to the safety of domestic and family violence victims through targeted information sharing
  • through the Central Referral Point system that is part of a system to coordinate responses from service providers for victims of domestic and family violence
  • from third party service providers such as companies that assist with salary packaging and leasing of vehicles

 

Website use

Other websites

Articles on our website may include embedded content (e.g. videos, images, articles). Embedded content from other websites behaves in the same way as if the visitor has visited the other website.

These websites may collect data about individuals, use cookies, embed additional third-party tracking, and monitor interaction with that embedded content, including tracking interaction with the embedded content if someone has an account and is logged in to that website.

Our website may contain links to other websites for your convenience, including social media sites where we may have a profile. We are not responsible for the privacy or security practices of those websites. We suggest you read the privacy policies of those websites before you supply any personal information to them.

Analytics

To improve visitors’ experience on our website, ‘cookies’ may be used. A cookie is a small text file that the SWSLC site may place on another computer as a tool to remember preferences. Individuals may refuse the use of cookies by choosing the appropriate settings on their browser.

Our website uses Google Analytics, a service which sends website traffic data to Google servers in the United States. Google Analytics does not identify individual users or link an IP address with other data held by Google. We use reports provided by Google Analytics to help understand website traffic and webpage usage.

When using our website, individuals are consenting to the processing of data about them by Google in the way it is described in Google’s Privacy Policy and so we can use Google Analytics as set out above. Individuals can opt out of Google Analytics if they disable or refuse the cookie, disable JavaScript, or use the opt-out service provided by Google.

 

How we store, secure and handle personal information

We hold personal information in both hard copy and electronic form.  We ensure that hard copy files are stored securely.

The steps we take to secure personal information we hold include:

  • use of a secure server
  • restrictions to our computer systems such as password and login restrictions
  • website protection such as anti-virus software, encryption and firewalls
  • secure office premises

When we no longer need to store personal information or it is no longer required by law we will take all reasonable steps to destroy or permanently de-identify that information.

 

What would happen if we were not able to collect your personal information?

If individuals choose not to provide all the personal information that we request it may limit how we are able to interact with an individual and may prevent us providing services.

If we did not collect personal information:

  • we would not be able to manage employment functions
  • we would not be able to provide legal advice and related services to clients
  • we may not be able to provide services, referrals, information, support and advocacy to domestic and family violence clients
  • we would not be able to meet reporting and service delivery requirements of funding bodies
  • we would not be able to send communications efficiently
  • our fundraising activities would be limited
  • we may not be able to provide receipts when required by donors.

 

Why do we collect, hold, use and disclose personal information?

We collect, hold, use and disclose personal information so that we can provide our services and enable us to carry out our functions. We only use and disclose your personal information where the use or disclosure is lawful.

 The main purposes are as follows:
  • to provide services to clients
  • to refer clients to other service providers such as barristers and other lawyers who have agreed to provide assistance
  • to provide information, support and advocacy to clients
  • to assess whether clients meet our eligibility criteria for services
  • to conduct business functions including processing payments and salaries
  • to provide updated/changed information to another service provider, contractor, government department or law enforcement agency
  • to report to funding bodies
  • to respond to queries and respond to and resolve complaints
  • to comply with the requirements of law
  • to seek funding and donations
  • for research and analytical purposes relevant to our activities
  • to run professional development and other educational programs
  • to promote our organisation and our activities including for community-based activities
  • to recruit staff, volunteers and hire contractors
  • to assess our performance.

 

To whom may we disclose personal information?

We comply with legislation such as the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Amendment (Information Sharing) Act 2013 (NSW) and Part 13A of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 which facilitate the sharing of personal information for the purpose of providing domestic and family violence support services to people who are subject to a domestic violence threat. We also comply with mandatory reporting requirements in the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW).

It may be necessary for us to disclose your personal information to others as part of our delivery of services to you and as part of our functions.  This includes to:

  • law enforcement agencies such as the NSW Police
  • our funding providers which include for example, Legal Aid NSW and the Department of Communities and Justice
  • the Courts
  • other parties in a legal matter or dispute and to courts and tribunals
  • government agencies and non-government agencies in the context of a Safety Action Meeting for domestic and family violence clients assessed as at serious threat of harm
  • government organisations referred to in mandatory reporting legislation and regulations including the Child Protection Helpline and the Child Wellbeing Unit
  • non-government organisations to whom we refer clients for support services
  • a mailing house for the purpose of sending fundraising communications or other communications relevant to our activities
  • financial institutions for processing payments
  • external service providers such as information technology providers, companies that assist with salary packaging and leasing of vehicles, auditors and recruitment advisors

We proceed on the basis that law enforcement agencies and government departments comply with the Privacy Act and the APPs in relation to any personal information provided to them. Otherwise if we disclose personal information to other third parties, we will do so with your consent where required and will take reasonable steps to satisfy ourselves  that the third party will comply with keep personal information confidential, and that it has processes and policies in place to comply with the Privacy Act and the APPs.

 

Access and correction of personal information

We will take reasonable steps to provide you with access to your personal information. We will also take reasonable steps to update or correct personal information if we are satisfied that it is inaccurate, incomplete, out of date or misleading. If we have provided your personal information to third parties we will also inform them of the correction where you ask us to do so unless it is impractical or unlawful to do so. We are not able to insist that third parties correct your personal information.

If you wish us to correct your personal information, in the first instance, please contact the staff member with whom you have had contact. If you are unable to have your personal information corrected by your staff contact or if you require access to detailed personal information about you that we may hold in our files, please contact our Privacy Officer whose details appear below. We may need to verify your identity before we action your request.

In some circumstances, we may refuse access to personal information such as where disclosure may unreasonably impact another individual or where authorised by law. If access is refused, we will provide written reasons for the refusal and information about how to make a complaint about the refusal.

 

 Complaints

We welcome feedback about privacy issues and will respond to questions and complaints promptly. If you have a complaint or query about how we have handled your personal information please contact our Privacy Officer using the details below.  If we take more than 30 days to respond to your complaint, or if you are dissatisfied with the outcome, you can make a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC ) who can be contacted on 1300 363 992 or at www.oaic.gov.au.

 

Contacting us

Privacy Officer, Ms Effi Vassiliadis

By email: effi@swslc.org.au

By mail: Ms E Vassiliadis, Privacy Officer, South West Sydney Legal Centre, 98-100 Moore Street, Liverpool, NSW 2170.