Any information that a victim discloses to Supporting Victims will remain confidential to the Unit.
Issues may be discussed with other team members if necessary, but with no-one else without the explicit consent of the victim concerned, unless we believe that harm has, or might occur to the victim or others.
Such rare exceptions might include:
- if a victim is considered to be at risk of harming themselves or others
- if a victim discloses details about their involvement in child abuse, terrorism, treason or any other criminal offence
- if a victim requests that we pass on information to a third party and signs that he/she agrees to the release of information
It should be noted that, by law, consent is still required from under 18s in the same way as for adults with regard to matters of data protection and confidentiality. However, in accordance with statutory requirements, where child protection issues are involved, it is not possible to offer confidentiality to a person under 18 as any disclosures must be reported.
Young People & consent
Supporting Victims in North Yorkshire believes that the most effective way to work with children and young people in most cases, is in partnership with their parents/responsible adult, and by having full consent from them with regards to the services and support that the child/young person is provided with.
Generally, we will only ever work with children under the age of 16 years with the consent of their parents and we will always try and gain consent for all young people under the ages of 16 years.
However, in a minority of cases, we recognise that young people aged 16/17 years would benefit from support, but that parental consent may not be possible to gain. In this instance a young person’s competence and maturity to make decisions will be considered by Supporting Victims through making an assessment of whether the young person understands the type of support that can be offered, the benefits of that support, and other options available to them. Where appropriate to do so; support will be offered directly to the young person in question.
The Supporting Victims service is confidential, but we sometimes have to share information with partner agencies to help keep people safe. For example, if we believe a child is at risk, we will breach confidentiality and involve other organisations.
If we think we need to involve others and share information about you for any reason we will normally discuss it with you before doing anything.
If the need ever arises for confidentiality to be broken, every attempt will be made to discuss this with the victim beforehand, unless to do so may worsen the situation for the victim.
If any third party, for example a parent, friend, partner contacts us to ask for information about any victim who may have contacted Supporting Victims, we will not disclose this information.