Our Commitment to Clients
Women’s Housing Ltd (WHL) is committed to upholding and actively promoting the rights of tenants and other clients.
WHL recognises the special needs and particular vulnerability of its client group, and the importance of establishing working relationships based on fairness, mutual respect and openness.
A key element in our approach is the establishment of positive and collaborative working relationships with service providers and clients.
The WHL policies and procedures are designed to ensure that service users are informed fully of their rights and obligations at all times, are actively encouraged to exercise them and are empowered to participate in decision making affecting life outcomes.
Service User Rights
In the context of services provided by WHL, tenants and other clients have:
- The right to a high quality and professional service which is responsive to the individual needs of homeless women and men of all ages and backgrounds and their children.
- The right to be given an opportunity for maximum participation in decision-making about their lives.
- The right to services that are delivered in a non-institutional, non-judgmental and non-directive way, which centre on client autonomy and self-determination.
- The right to assessment, information and referral practices which are appropriate to their needs.
- The right to be fully informed of service expectations, rules or conditions.
- The right to be provided with information that is clear, accessible and easily understood.
- The right to a grievance procedure that is transparent, empowering and effective.
- The right to privacy and relative confidentiality.
- The right to housing that is free from verbal, physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
- The right to provide feedback on their experience of using this service.
- The right to a timely and accurate response to all enquires.
- The right to clean, well-maintained and safe living conditions in accord with OOH standards.
Confidentiality and Privacy
Client confidentiality and privacy is central to WHL work practices
WHL services involve gathering and storing personal and often highly sensitive information. WHL will protect this information and ensure that it is handled appropriately and only used for its intended purposes.
What information is collected and how will it be used?
WHL will collect the minimum personal information required to determine your eligibility into WHL services and ongoing service provision. We collect information in a variety of ways including applications for housing vacancies, assessment and referral forms, tenancy agreements, website enquiries, other various forms and through our ongoing contact with you. In some cases we may collect CCTV images (if relevant) and calls to and from our (03) 9412 6868 phone number may be recorded.
Information collected will be used to assess eligibility of the transitional and community housing programs, advocacy and referral services, allocation of HEF, ongoing tenancy management, and for the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (non identifying information).
Information collected may include:
- Names, addresses, dates of birth and contact details
- Income statements and banking details
- Number and ages of children
- Current housing status and housing history
- Cultural identity to determine interpreter requirements
- Health issues
- Personal support needs
- Domestic Violence history
- Landlord details
- Support worker details
Who can WHL share my personal information with?
Confidential information will only be shared between WHL and relevant services after you have provided consent. If you choose not to consent, this choice will be respected and will not constitute a barrier to receiving WHL services. For practical reasons it may be necessary on occasions for staff to seek verbal consent to disclosure when working with a client over the phone. In these circumstances the worker will make notes to that effect on the client file.
There are certain occasions when information can be given and received without your consent. These situations are when the law requires the disclosure of information, or if there is a duty of care to disclose information, e.g. mandatory reporting, matters relating to child protection or criminal matters. Wherever possible and appropriate, you will be informed of the release of information that occurs without your consent.
Information you or your support agency provides to WHL may be disclosed to other relevant services in order to assess and plan service responses. These services may include:
- Support Agencies and Housing Services
- WHL staff
- Independent contractors
- Department of Health and Human Services
- Department of Justice
- Child Protection
- Health Services
What laws protect my personal information?
Your personal information is protected by the Information Privacy Act 2000, Privacy Act 1988 and Records Act 1973. In addition, WHL is guided by the DHS Privacy Principles, Consumer Charter for Community Managed Housing and Homelessness Services, National Community Housing Standards and DHHS One Standards.
If you do not understand or wish to access your information via Freedom of Information please speak to your relevant worker or their manager.
If you have a complaint about information being accessed or disclosed without your consent, you may contact the Victorian Privacy Commissioner, or if the information pertains to health (including disability), you may contact the Health Services Commissioner. Clients will be advised accordingly of these avenues.