Privacy and Confidentiality
As counsellors, we may ask you to provide certain personal data (including health and employment) or obtain from an appropriate third party your medical, healthcare, employment and/or academic history solely for your counselling needs. Counsellors are not medical doctors and therefore are not registered with the Medical Council of Hong Kong. Hence, there are no medical records on file except for the counsellor's notes that are private and confidential, and are never released to any third party save for if said counsellor notes are ordered/and or subpoenaed by the Court.
It is a primary duty of all our counsellors to ensure our clients feel safe and that their counselling needs are being provided in a confidential, safe, highly professional, effective and caring manner. All counsellors receive regular clinical supervision with their cases to ensure the safety and care of all clients. However, in the event of exceptional cases such as foreseeable harm to self, others and/or a child, St. John's Cathedral Counselling Service, legally and ethically by way of Article 14 of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights, Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance and the professional code of ethics from the British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy and the American Psychiatric Association, may be justified to disclose certain information to an appropriate legal/government party.
With respect to Hong Kong's Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance, St. John's Cathedral Counselling Service is vigilant with Six Data Protection Principles as so recommended by the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (Hon Kong):
DPP1: Data Collection Principle: the data we collect is the usual and customary data collected when completing a registration and consent form in healthcare. At no time do we share a client's data with any third party outside of St. John's Cathedral Counselling Service save for when requested by a legal authority. At no time do we formulate a mailing list and send any material to any of our clients regarding any type of events or activities, including those of St. John's Cathedral;
DPP2: Accuracy and Retention Principle: a client will be provided with a copy of their registration and consent form at their initial appointment, and at any time may contact our Office Administrator to correct any information they may find as incorrect. All client data is deleted within six (6) to twelve (12) months of their termination of counselling services;
DPP3: Data Use Principle: the data collected from a client is solely used for counselling purposes, and in the event of a referral to a medical/healthcare third party, the client shall consent of any and all personal data released to said third party. At no time does St. John's Cathedral Counselling Service share, copy, distribute and/or make readily available for use by St. John's Cathedral and our related outreach ministries and offices;
DPP4: Data Security Principle: St. John's Cathedral Counselling Service assigns a client number that is used solely in any and all session notes that protects the privacy and confidentiality of all clients. There are stringent data protection, privacy and confidentiality policies at St. John's Cathedral Counselling Service to ensure data is not lost, misplaced and/or misused;
DPP5: Openness Principle: St. John's Cathedral Counselling Service will not share any client's data with another third party without written consent by the client. The data we collect is solely for registration/consent that allows a client to engage in a private, professional, safe and confidential counselling experience. Any and all information shared in a counselling session shall remain private and confidential;
DPP6: Data Access & Correction Principle: A client may request access to their data by requesting in person and/or writing. The request for a client's data will be responded to within forty-eight (48) hours. St. John's Cathedral Counselling Service Data Accuracy and Retention Principle states that all data of a client shall be deleted within six (6) to twelve (12) months of termination of counselling services.
There is currently no Hong Kong laws that make it mandatory to report suspected child abuse, however, at St. John's Cathedral Counselling Service our Duty to Care Policy requires us to report all child abuse cases to the Social Welfare Department to ensure the safety and well being of children and their families.