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Keeping Your Information Safe – Privacy Notice

For women using Belfast and Lisburn Women’s Aid services

Belfast and Lisburn Women’s Aid provides support, information and temporary accommodation to women with or without children who are experiencing domestic violence. This support is provided in refuges, through the Outreach service, the PSNI Support Workers and the children and young person’s projects.

During your period of support with Belfast and Lisburn Women’s Aid, we will ask you to provide us with personal data. Personal data is information that relates to a living individual who can be identified from the information.

The personal data we collect includes:

  • Name, address and contact telephone number;
  • Emergency contact details
  • Date of birth
  • National insurance number
  • Details of your GP, Social Worker, CPN etc (if relevant)
  • Whether you are pregnant
  • Your economic status
  • Details about your children
  • Religion
  • Racial or ethnic group
  • Country of birth
  • Physical or mental health conditions
  • Criminal convictions
  • Relationship with the perpetrator and details if needed for MARAC (Multi-Agency Risk Assessment)

All of this information is provided by you (and/or whoever referred you to the organisation) when you are initially referred and when your support starts. You have the right to withhold or restrict any information relating to you or your children, and this will be respected. You also can amend your information if it changes and you have the right to request to have all the information we keep relating to support for you and your children, deleted from our records (although in some circumstances we will not be able to do this).

The organisation also uses CCTV cameras for security purposes at the refuges and the Support and Resource Centre. Images are not recorded and kept in refuge, but are recorded and kept for two weeks in the Support and Resource centre.

When we ask you for personal data, we promise to:

  • only ask for what we need and is relevant;
  • make sure you know and understand why we need it, and who we will share it with;
  • hold it securely and make sure nobody has access to it who shouldn’t;
  • make sure we don’t keep it longer than necessary; and
  • not make your personal information available for any other use (other than stated on this notice) without your permission unless we are required by law or if you or your child is at risk.

Why do we keep information about you?

  • To keep in touch with you
  • To ensure you and your children are given the best support possible, suited your individual needs and situation
  • To gather statistics relating to our work
  • To make housing benefit claims on your behalf if you are staying in refuge
  • To provide information to funders who support us financially to do our work. This means they can verify that we are providing the support we say we provide.
  • To share with other agencies that may be involved in your support.

How do we store your information?

Your information is stored on a computer database, and on paper files. The organisation has a Data Protection Policy which outlines how we will store and process your information within the organisation to keep it safe.

Who do we share your information with?

When you or your child(ren) are using our services we are at times required to share your information with others. This might be with the agency that referred you to Women’s Aid, or perhaps your Social Worker if you have one. When you leave refuge and move into independent housing or have contact with other agencies, again we may be required to share your information with them. We will always tell you when we do that.

Belfast and Lisburn Women’s Aid is dependent on financial funding from external bodies. Funders ask us to provide them with information relating to the work we do, and so we are required to pass on some specific information. This includes:

If you are staying in a refuge – Housing Benefit forms which are forwarded to the NIHE, which pays rent to the organisation on your behalf.

If you are using the Outreach Service (one to one support, groups, court support etc), we are required to send your first name, surname and date of birth to the Supporting People team at the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. This allows them to verify that we are providing support.

Other agencies that we may share information with as part of your support may include:

  • Social Services (Gateway Team and Family Support) if you have a Social Worker or if we need to make a referral on your behalf
  • Health Trust Health Visitors
  • MARAC Co-ordinators and members if you are referred to a MARAC
  • Department of Justice
  • GPs
  • Community Psychiatric Nurses
  • PSNI
  • Probation Board for NI
  • Other Women’s Aid groups
  • Health and Social Care Trusts
  • Northern Ireland Housing Executive
  • Your children’s school(s)
  • Your solicitor if you have one

All these organisations are obliged to keep your details securely and to dispose of them when no longer needed.

In certain other circumstances the organisation has a statutory or legal requirement to pass on information, for example in legal or child protection cases.

Am I entitled to see the information that is held about me?

You are entitled to see your information at any time during your support and to have
a copy of your support plan when you leave Women’s Aid services. Your paper file
will be shredded one year after your support finishes and the database record after 7
years. We keep information for that length of time to meet funder’s requirements
or should there be a legal requirement. After you have left the services you are
entitled to make a Data Subject Access Request to obtain a copy of your information.
To do this you should write to the Data Protection Officer, 30 Adelaide Park, Belfast,
BT9 6FY.

The collection, processing and recording of your information will be in line with the
General Data Protection Regulations.

If you have any concerns or questions about how we collect, handle or share your
information or you wish to make a complaint in this respect you can contact the Data
Protection Officer on 028 9066 6049 or talk to your support worker.

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