Privacy and confidentiality
The Department recognises the sensitivity of family violence situations and as such, promotes the need for the highest degree of confidentiality to be exercised when supporting employees. The Department notes that respecting confidentiality may be critical to the safety of the employee or their family.
No information will be kept on an employee’s personnel file without their express written permission. Where permission is given, any documentation will be put in a sealed envelope marked ‘confidential — access limited to principal or manager only’ and placed in the employee’s personnel file.
All information relating to family violence matters provided to the Department will be treated in accordance with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic), the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 and the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic). Such information is to be securely stored and used only for the purposes for which it was collected, except as otherwise required or permitted by law.
If an employee has any concerns or questions about the way their information has been collected, used, disclosed or secured, further information is available at the Department's or can be sought from the Department’s privacy officer.
An employee who discloses they are experiencing family violence will be assured their information will be kept strictly confidential and only used for the purpose of providing support to the employee, except as required or permitted by law, for example:
- the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) (OHS Act) requires the employer to notify WorkSafe immediately of serious workplace incidents
- where a criminal act has occurred or is threatened to occur, the police must be notified
In ensuring the necessary family violence or other related leave can be approved or supports put in place, liaison with the employee’s principal or manager will generally be necessary. When an employee raises a family violence matter, they should be assured of confidentiality and be properly informed of necessary contact with a principal or manager (or more senior manager).
Employees involved in a matter raised under this policy are required to respect the privacy of personal information and the sensitivity of the matters raised. Disclosure of personal information should be limited so that only employees directly involved are informed, and then only on a ‘need-to-know’ basis.
Employees can request that their colleagues are not made aware of their family violence issues. However, there may be circumstances where others in the workplace may need to be aware of the situation, for example if unwelcome telephone calls are occurring or there is a risk to the safety of the affected employee or any other employees. In these instances, disclosure of the circumstances should be kept to a minimum and should be on a ‘need-to-know’ basis for the purpose of maintaining safety in the workplace and supporting the employee.
Reviewed 14 May 2020