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Sistering Policies

Confidentiality Policy
Posted at all Program Locations

  1. The confidentiality of all women is a prime commitment we make to program members. In general no information will be shared with any individual or agency without the informed consent of the woman concerned. Without exception women will be encouraged and supported to communicate directly with workers or officials so as to promote self-reliance, improved life skills and the accuracy of shared information.
  2. Information regarding women coming into the programs may be shared among staff members. Women must be informed that information disclosed to a staff member or volunteer may be shared with other staff.
  3. Emergencies may require a departure from 1) and 2). If a woman is very upset and threatening harm to herself or others, try to have a second person witness the behaviour and the information may be passed to the appropriate individual/agency (police, case manager, hostel). It is unlikely that informed consent can be obtained from a woman under these circumstances. When describing behaviours staff use lay terms rather than medical or diagnostic terms as Sistering is a non-medical service.
  4. A consent to release of information form is mandatory if any agency is asking for information. A copy of the form is given to the woman and to the requesting agency. Information consents are time-limited and must be kept in a locked file for 10 years.
  5. If information is being requested in written form such as for a housing program which requires that its own form be used the woman should collaborate in completing the form and sign it.
  6. If a Form 1 or Peace Bond is sought for a woman the source of the supporting information is legally responsible for its accuracy and defensibility.
  7. A breach of the confidentiality rules on the part of a staff member will be penalized and may result in the dismissal of a staff member for cause.