Privacy & confidentiality
The Live Chat Helpline is an anonymous and confidential service. This means that we do not take any contact details before you start a chat. We also do not share any of your information with anyone else, except in rare circumstances where a child or vulnerable adult may be at risk.
Your personal details
Our Live Chat Helpline is an anonymous service. This means that you do not need to give us your name, location or contact details to start a chat.
During a chat, we do have access to the IP address of the device you are using. An IP address is a number that can be used to identify a device – for example, to locate your computer or phone.
Are the chats recorded?
What you discuss during your Live Chat session is captured as a written record (a ‘chat transcript’).
We occasionally review these chat transcripts. This will only happen as part of checking the quality of the service being delivered, including as part of responding to any complaints we receive.
We do not store chat transcripts on an ongoing basis. We either delete them soon after the Live Chat session has ended, or within 28 days if there are any issues that need to be resolved.
Operators also record some information about what happened during the chat. This includes the type of support provided and how long the chat lasted for. This information will not identify you personally, and is only collected for monitoring and reporting purposes.
At the end of a chat
At the end of each session, you will be asked to provide basic information, such as your age, gender and ethnicity.
This anonymous information is requested for monitoring and reporting purposes, and you do not have to provide it if you do not want to.
You can also tell us what you think about the service. We will use this to make sure we are delivery a good quality service, and to make sure that the Live Chat Helpline and other Rape Crisis services are meeting your needs.
Sharing information with other agencies
Most of the time whatever you tell us will stay confidential.
However, we may need to share information with other agencies or organisations if we believe a child or vulnerable adult is at risk of serious or immediate harm, or if we are instructed by a court of law.
If this is the case, we will always try to get your permission to share this information.
We can only help in these situations if we have information which identifies you. If this happens, we may ask you for your name, contact details or location. Even if you do not give us this information during the chat, we do have access to your device’s IP address.
Breaking confidentiality without consent
In extremely rare cases, the Live Chat Helpline may need to share personal information without getting your consent. This could be in situations where:
- You share information which identifies a child or vulnerable adult who is at risk of serious harm.
- You appear to be unable to give consent or become unconscious during the chat.
- You threaten the safety of RCEW Live Chat operators or other staff, or make specific threats of harm towards anyone else.
- There is a legal requirement to provide information following receipt of a court order requiring us to share information
- If we receive information about an imminent act of terrorism or similar risk to life.
Even if you do not give us your name, contact details or location during the chat, we do have access to your device’s IP address.