London Nightline respects the right to confidentiality of all service users to its Helpline and the right to anonymity of all its volunteers. This information below sets out the circumstances under which service users and volunteers can expect confidentiality and outlines some exceptions.
Service User Confidentiality:
Statistics of type of contact, length of contact, number of contacts and sex of service users will be kept and will be publicised. This should be explained to service users who ask about contact logging or confidentiality. They should be made aware of the vague nature of the contact categories to assure them that neither they nor their specific circumstance will be identified in any way.
Volunteers and staff should never discuss contacts, even if they think that the service user cannot be identified, with anyone outside the organisation.
Contacts can and should be discussed with fellow volunteers and members of staff.
If service users ask about confidentiality, it should be explained that contacts are confidential within the organisation. The only exceptions are:
- where there are legal obligations to reveal information
- where the contact gives permission to reveal information
- where the contact abuses the service.
Exceptions to Service User Confidentiality:
Acts of Terrorism and Bomb Threats: London Nightline is legally obliged to report any contacts in which the service user discloses that they are reporting or have committed an act of terrorism or if they are reporting a bomb threat.
In these cases the terrorism procedure must be followed by the volunteer.
Emergency Services: If the service user asks the volunteer to call emergency services or the authorities and provides contact/location details with permission to pass these on to a third party.
Abuse of the Service: When there is an abuse of service, London Nightline may break confidentiality and share details of this service user with other Nightlines or the emergency services. This may only be done by, or with the permission of, the Coordinator.
Volunteers and staff should never reveal details about volunteers to service users or people outside the organisation and should respect volunteers’ rights to anonymity and confidentiality.
The content of a contact and a service user’s details should never be revealed to anyone outside the organisation without the service user’s permission.
In the case of an attempted suicide or an experience of abuse or violence, permission to help the service user to seek assistance from the emergency services should be sought; but if the service user declines to give it this is their prerogative. This type of contact must always be discussed with someone in a supporting position.