Privacy of Client Information
All of our clients, as well as visitors to our web site, must be treated with personal human care, high ethical standards, and integrity. We strive to honor or exceed the legal and ethical standards of information privacy as required of counselors in the United States (US).
The Village Counselor defines Demographic Information as non-personally identifiable information, most of which is collected at the time of registration, such as:
||Telephone Area code
||Best times to call
||How you found out about our services
||Visits to our web sites|
The Village Counselor defines Private Information as all client information (excluding Demographic Information) obtained through the process of counseling, including the registration process.
The following information, requested at the time of client registration, is also considered Private Information:
||Street Address (home)
||Credit card information|
Use of Private Information
The Village Counselor's primary use of clients' Private Information is in providing online counseling.
If clients provide their credit card information, their credit card number, the name on the credit card, and purchase information is provided to the banking merchant. This is necessary to complete the transaction.
Protection of Private Information
All Private Information provided by clients is kept strictly confidential in accordance with professional codes of counseling ethics. The Village Counselor will not share a client's Private Information with any third party, with the following exceptions:
1. In order to give clients the best possible services, The Village Counselor's staff are regularly supervised by other qualified counselors. Supervision involves the counselor releasing a client's Private Information to their supervisor.
2. All US counselors are required by law to report any suspicion or risk of child abuse and/or neglect. If we believe that a child is at risk of being abused, has already been abused, or that someone who previously abused children is still a threat (for example if they still work in a day care) we must report the information to appropriate child protection authorities or police.
3. If we believe that a person's life may be in danger, we will report the situation to appropriate authorities. This applies to cases of potential suicide and homicide.
4. Courts of law have the power to demand that we release client records if clients are involved in a court case in which their relationship to The Village Counselor is relevant.
The counselors' ability to fulfill their obligations as described in 1, 2 and 3 above are limited by the information that clients provide them.
The Village Counselor does not guarantee the security of confidential material that becomes insecure because of actions that clients may take. Examples of security breaches that we do not guarantee include, but are not limited to:
|leaving confidential material on a computer screen for others to see
||storing confidential material on the computer used by a client
||use of monitoring software (for example, by an employer)|
While we strive to protect a client's personal information, no data transmission over the Internet is guaranteed to be 100% secure. Thus, The Village Counselor cannot ensure or guarantee the security of any information during transmission to or from our site, and clients submit information to us at their own risk.
Storage of Private Information
The Village Counselor will securely store records containing Private Information for a minimum period of 18 months and a maximum period of five years.
Other Uses of Private Information
The Village Counselor will never use client Private Information in any way other than the purposes stated above unless client consent is obtained to do so. If a client does consent to the use of Private Information for another purpose (for example, for a research study), the appropriate ethical guidelines will be followed. Clients will never be contacted directly by any third party as a result of their relationship with The Village Counselor unless clients have given appropriate permission to do so.
Clients Responsibility to Update Information
Clients are asked to update their Demographic Information, as well as their address, telephone number, and e-mail address, whenever such changes occur by notifying their counselor of the changes. Failure to do so releases The Village Counselor from our ethical/legal obligation to warn of life threatening situations.
Distribution of Unsolicited Information
The Village Counselor will not send clients any unsolicited information, including e-mail, except as follows:
Occasionally, The Village Counselor may send unsolicited notices to a clients˙ŭ E-mail. These notices, if sent, will allow us to provide counseling follow-up or request evaluation of our services, or to announce important service changes, new features, technical updates and news about other The Village Counselor products and services. The Village Counselor will not send clients unsolicited messages regarding any third party commercial offers or advertisements. Within the context of the counseling relationship, counselors may provide their clients with information about recommended services that are for their therapeutic benefit.
Hyperlinks to Third Party Web Sites
All hyperlinks from The Village Counselor˙ŭs web site are screened for appropriateness and for compatibility with our ethical standards. However, we have no control over the third parties whose hyperlinks we allow on our site. These third parties may change their web site content without notice. We are not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of those sites, the third parties named therein, or their products and services. Clients or visitors who link to any other site do so at their own risk and The Village Counselor will not be responsible or liable for any damages in connection with linking.
The Village Counselor DISCLAIMS ALL RESPONSIBILITY OR LIABILITY FOR ANY DAMAGES CAUSED BY VIRUSES CONTAINED AT OR WITHIN THE The Village Counselor SITE OR WITHIN ANY ELECTRONIC FILES SENT FROM THE The Village Counselor SITE.