Security, Privacy and Information
What information will I need to give to enter tic+chat?
tic+chat is anonymous, to enter the chat we will ask you for your first name or the name you wish to be known by. We will also ask you for a password so we can easily find you on our system. This means that if you visit tic+chat in future you won’t have to repeat your information to another member of our team. We will ask you to tell us the area you live and your age so that we can check we are funded to provide the service to you. We will also ask you for some information that we use to provide reports that help us to improve the quality and availability of our service, for instance, your gender and ethnic origin.
Is tic+chat confidential?
Whatever you talk about in tic+chat is private. It’s a safe, anonymous space for you to discuss whatever is on your mind. We ask you to use your first name only or a different name to your own so that it is not possible for us to know who you are. Because it’s a confidential service your number is withheld from our helpline team, they will not be able to see your number.
Keeping what you say confidential is really important to us, and we’ll only think about telling other people in extremely rare cases. For instance, if we’re very worried about your or someone else’s safety or if we’re told we have to by law, for example for a court case. If we think we might need to tell someone, we’ll always talk to you about it first. If you are currently having counselling from TIC+ we would also need to let your counsellor know. If you give us your details, we would work with you to agree every step we may take and why (see what happens if I share personal information below). However, we may need to act to protect you or another person without your consent if necessary or if you are unable to give consent. We might use your phone number if you have given it to us or your IP address (a number used by your internet provider) to get help to you. If we don’t have those, we work with the police and phone company to get your phone number or IP address.
A TIC+ trained supervisor may listen to your call or supervise your 1-2-1 chat to make sure that we help you the best way we can.
Any online questionnaires or feedback forms you complete will be anonymous. The anonymised data we collect will be used to help us to evidence the effectiveness of our service and improve it for future clients.
We’ve done everything we can to make sure the conversations you have with us are as secure as possible. For online-chat we use a super-secure UK based web platform that uses the most advanced encryption technology you can get.
What happens if I share personal information?
Sometimes, getting extra support for you can be really important. If we think we need to get you extra support we will ask you for personal details such as your name(s), address, phone number, date of birth and your parent/carer details if needed. This information is called Personally Identifiable Data or PID for short. We will ALWAYS seek your consent (permission) to collect and keep your personal details on file. You do not have to consent OR give us your personal details.
If you choose to give us your PID it will be stored on the TIC+ system and is only accessible to the TIC+ team (including your counsellor if you are currently having counselling from TIC+) and the organisation we refer you to. We will ask your consent to pass over your details, although we will ‘act’ to protect you without your permission if necessary or if you are unable to give permission. We will always let you know who we are passing details to and would work with you to agree every step we may take and why.
If you do decide to give us your PID you are no longer ‘anonymous’ to us. We will know who you are and (usually) where you are. As a ‘duty of care’ if you tell us anything worrying, we must act in your best interests to keep you safe and/or to protect you. Where possible, we will always work with you to ensure that you are safe and informed and involved in any decisions we make with regard your health and well-being.
How can I make sure my chats are kept private?
You will be asked to give us a password so we know it’s you and you don’t have to repeat yourself. Don’t share your password with anyone. To use tic+chat anonymously, don’t use your full name or surname, give out details of specific locations like the name of your school, or share details like email addresses or phone numbers. You can take the following simple steps to make sure your conversations remain private:
- Make the call from somewhere safe
- Make sure others can’t see your screen
- If speaking on the phone, check that no-one can overhear your conversation
- Choose a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted
- If using the online chatroom, as soon as you’ve finished, exit the chat and close your Internet browser.
Someone messaged me and told me they are a tic+chat support worker or counsellor. What should I do?
Our tic+chat team members will never approach you directly. The online chat takes place from the TIC+ website. To chat over the phone, you need to call the number given on the website. If you see or hear someone trying to start one-to-one conversations using the tic+chat name anywhere else, you should tell us straight away. Call 01594 372777, text us on 07520 634063 or send an email to [email protected].
How can I make sure no-one knows I’ve been visiting your website?
When you visit websites, your browser remembers lots of information. It can remember which sites you’ve been to, what you’ve downloaded, and much more. This is called your internet history. You might not want other people to see that you’ve been looking at the TIC+ website. There are two things you need to do to clear your history:
- Delete all cookies from the Temporary Internet Files on your computer. A cookie is a piece of information your computer remembers about where you’ve been online.
- Delete the websites in your history folder. If you want to go on the internet without storing any information, you can use private browsing.
What information do you collect and how is it stored?
Information we collect
When you use tic+chat we ask you to give us some basic information, but we can’t identify you from this information. This includes your month and year of birth, your gender, ethnicity and the area you live. Please make sure that the information you give us is accurate.
We also collect information about the issues you talk to us about, what you find helpful and any other feedback that you give us. This helps us to measure how we are performing and how to improve our service.
If you choose to give us your Personally Identifiable Data (PID) it will be stored on the TIC+ system and is only accessible to the TIC+ team (including your counsellor if you are currently having counselling from TIC+) and the organisation we refer you to.
IP addresses may be stored if we are worried about you or some else’s safety or to monitor inappropriate use of our services.
Notes and records of your session
We do not record telephone calls nor keep a copy of the online chat transcript. We keep a short summary of your session that other workers at tic+chat can read so you don’t have to repeat yourself if you chat to a different member of our team. If we are worried that you or another person is at risk of serious harm, we keep a more detailed record of what you say.
We sometimes write case studies about the work that we do with young people. This is used to help train and develop our team, and to show our funders the kind of work we do. Sometimes case studies and encouraging feedback you give us may be used to help advertise tic+chat on the website and in promotional literature to encourage other children and young people to use the service. Whenever a case study is written, we never use any information that may identify you.
Questionnaires and feedback
Any questionnaires you fill in during the counselling will be made anonymous. We use the information we gather to improve our service.
Storage and sharing of data
The notes, records and information belong to TIC+. The information encrypted is (coded to ensure your data is protected) and stored securely on our servers in the UK. We keep this information for at least seven years or until you reach the age of 18 – whichever is longer. Your information is only accessible to authorised members of the TIC+ team and if relevant the organisation you are being referred to. Nobody outside of TIC+ will be able to read information about you without your consent unless we are worried about you or another person (see is tic+chat confidential?).
We share anonymised information with organisations and people who fund the service. We also share anonymised information with researchers from universities who use it to study the impact and effect of the tic+chat service, and follow all legal requirements for this. No identifiable information will ever be shared outside of our organisation for research purposes.
Your information and your rights
Your right to correct information
You have the right to correct any information we hold about you.
Your right to withdraw your consent
You have the right to withdraw consent if you have shared any personal identifiable data with us and we are able to identify you. You can withdraw your consent to share information at any time.
Your right to see a copy of your notes and records
You can ask for a copy of any information we have about you. It can take a while for you to receive your personal information, as we always need to make sure that records don’t fall into the wrong hands. It’s important to think about whether requesting your records is the right decision for you. Reading over a conversation you’ve had with us in the past could be upsetting, and might drag up things you would rather forget. For this reason, we ask that you meet with one of our trained counsellors at our office in Mitcheldean or Gloucester who will support you to decide if reading a copy of your notes is right for you.
Deleting your records and information
You have the right to ask for any records or notes we have about you deleted providing we can identify you from the information we have about you.
To withdraw consent, see a copy of your notes, or request your records are corrected or deleted you will need to provide proof of your identity before we can act. You will need to contact us in any of the following ways:
Post: TIC+ Offices, 4th floor, Building 7,
Vantage Point Business Village,
Phone: 01594 372777
Email: [email protected].