Confidentiality and privacy

Open Arms provides free and confidential counselling.

Open Arms is committed to preserving and upholding your rights to privacy and confidentiality. We are bound by the Privacy Act 1988 and the Australian Privacy Principles.

Open Arms records are stored securely, and every effort is made to ensure that your counselling sessions and contact with us remains confidential.

Open Arms keeps confidential notes and reports on your counselling and group program attendance so we can provide you with appropriate professional help.

Confidentiality and the Department of Veterans' Affairs

Under normal circumstances your clinical information will not be released to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), other government agencies or external parties without your consent.

Your information may only be shared under exceptional circumstances or in accordance with the law. This occurs where your safety or the safety of others is at serious risk, in serious criminal matters, or in response to a court direction.

Confidentiality and Defence

Information is not shared with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) if you self-refer to Open Arms.

If you are a member of the ADF and you have been referred through your ADF medical officer or Defence psychologist, periodic reports regarding your treatment will be provided to the ADF Referring Authority.

Confidentiality and children

Open Arms generally requires parental permission from at least one parent for the delivery of services to children under 18 years of age.

The law regards minors as being capable of giving voluntary informed consent to the provision of health services if they have sufficient maturity, usually around the age of adolescence.

Open Arms requires parental permission for the referral and treatment of all persons under 15 years of age. For adolescents aged 15–17 years, the young person’s maturity and their preferences regarding parental involvement will be considered prior to services being provided.

Young people have the same right to confidentiality in counselling as adults within the context of parental responsibility. Children and adolescents should be aware that it is Open Arms policy to disclose ‘relevant’ information to parent/s or legal guardians.

In deciding whether to disclose any information about a child or adolescent to their parent/s or other relevant person, the counsellor will take into account:

  • The maturity of the minor
  • The nature of the issues
  • Any statutory or other obligations which may need to be considered
  • The safety of the minor
  • Any protection orders that note the interests of the young person.

Open Arms will inform the young person what information will be disclosed.

For more information on how Open Arms manages personal information, download a copy of our Privacy Policy.

Open Arms counsellors have an understanding of veteran and military culture that assists them to deliver specialised support

Anyone who has served at least one day in the ADF, as well as their families are eligible for Open Arms counselling.

A step by step overview of what to expect