The Mental Health Legal Centre (referred to as "MHLC", "we", "us" or "our") is a specialist community legal centre that provides professional services and assistance to people experiencing, or who have been labelled as experiencing, mental health challenges.
We are required to comply with the Victorian Health Records Act 2001 (Vic) when we collect and handle health information. Although we are not bound by the Australian Privacy Principles in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), we comply with them when we collect and handle personal information.
If you are our client, we also comply with our legal and ethical obligations to keep your client information confidential. We only disclose client information if you allow us to, except in limited circumstances defined by law.
We only collect personal information that is reasonably necessary for one or more of our functions or activities.
The information that what we collect about you will depend on the services you use.
If you are a client or request legal assistance, we need to collect personal information and sensitive information to perform our services. Information that we collect about you might include:
Other personal information and sensitive information may be collected if we provide you or a client with legal advice. This includes other personal information or sensitive information that you or a client gives us.
Due to the nature of our services, it is likely that we will collect sensitive information from our clients. “Sensitive information” includes health information and information about a person’s racial or ethnic origin, political or philosophical beliefs or associations, work or professional associations, sexual preferences or practices, or criminal record. We only collect sensitive information if you allow us to.
If you use our website, certain information may be collected regarding how you use our website. This includes Internet identifiers. For example, IP addresses and the geographical location of your ISP data centre.
If you apply to work or volunteer for MHLC, we need to collect personal information to assess your application and in relation to the work you perform. For example, your name and contact information, qualifications and experience, resume, and education, employment and volunteer history.
Our preference is to collect personal information about you directly, with your agreement. You do not have to agree to your personal information being collected. However, if you do not agree, we may not be able to assist you.
Information will generally be collected from the following sources:
Purposes for which we may collect, use or disclose your personal information include:
If you do not provide us with the required personal information, we may not be able to give you access to our services or legal assistance.
We may also use your personal information in an anonymised, aggregated or de-identified form. For example:
We do not use your personal information to engage in commercial marketing activities.
We may share your personal information with employees, volunteers, contractors or service providers for the purpose of providing our services.
Certain third parties may access your personal information. These include:
We, including our service providers, may hold electronic records of your personal information using cloud technology, by other electronic means, or in paper form. All of the electronic personal information we hold is hosted on servers located in Australia. However, in the course of using cookies and web-analytics on our website, some information may be held or processed outside Australia, including the USA and the European Union. It is not practicable for us to specify in advance the location of every service provider or user who we deal with.
We take reasonable steps to protect and secure your personal information from misuse, loss and unauthorised access, modification and disclosure.
We will only keep your personal information for as long as reasonably necessary to satisfy the purpose that we collected it for or to comply with legal, regulatory or internal policy requirements. We will close your file once the matter is completed. We store closed files in a secure manner for the period of time required by law.
It is generally free to request access to your personal information. However, we may require you to meet our reasonable costs of providing you with access.
There may be instances where we cannot give you access to the personal information held. For example, if this would interfere with the privacy of others or if it would lead to a breach of confidentiality.
If you request access to your client files, the Principal Solicitor will view the file and approve any copies of material to be provided to you prior to access. You may only be provided with access to the relevant parts of your client files.
We will respond to all requests for access correction within a reasonable time.
We take reasonable steps to ensure that personal information we collect, use and disclose is accurate, up to date, complete and relevant.
If you have requested that we change information about you because it is not correct, out of date, incomplete, irrelevant or misleading, we will reasonably consider your request. If we agree that the information requires correction, we will take reasonable steps to correct that information.
If we do not agree that there are appropriate reasons for correction, then you may request that we add a note to your personal information stating that you disagree with the information. We will take reasonable steps to comply with your request.
We will respond to all requests for correction within a reasonable time.
Our website uses Google Analytics to analyse web traffic coming to our website. If you do not agree to the use of Trackers on our website, please disable them by following the instructions for your browser or device, or by using the automated disabling tool where available.
The Online Help web application on our website does not use Google Analytics. Our Online Help web application uses Matomo Analytics cookies for research purposes. These analytics will capture information, such as the number of users, the user’s role (e.g. person with mental health challenges, family member, carer or referring organisation), and the areas of law viewed. Our Online Help web application uses session cookies, which is a cookie that only exists in temporary memory while you navigate our Online Help web application. Session cookies expire or are deleted when you close the web browser.
If you have a complaint or question about the way in which we have handled any privacy issue, please contact us. This can be done by email using the subject line “Privacy Complaint” to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling us on (03) 9629) 4422.
We treat all complaints confidentially. Once your complaint has been received, we will aim to investigate and respond to your complaint within 30 days.
If you are not satisfied with how we manage your complaint, you may contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. The OAIC can be contacted at GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001 or oaic.gov.au.