About this Policy
- personal information is information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable. It includes information about you such as your name and contact information.
- sensitive information is a subset of personal information. It includes information such as your racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs or affiliations, philosophical beliefs, sexual orientation or practices, criminal record, and health information.
Remaining anonymous or using a pseudonym
We understand that some members of the public may not want to be identified when they interact with us, and might want to remain anonymous or use a pseudonym (a ‘fake name’).
Generally, members of the public will have the right to remain anonymous or adopt a pseudonym when dealing with us. However, it is not always possible to remain anonymous or adopt a pseudonym and we will let you know when this is the case.
How we collect personal information
We collect personal information (including some sensitive information) in different ways including:
- through forms or documents provided to us
- from online portals (e.g. our website)
- via social media websites and accounts
- through correspondence with you (e.g. letters, emails or SMS messages)
- other interactions with you, whether face-to-face or over the telephone
- from a person that you have authorised to provide your information to us
- from referrals from the Minister’s Office or Assistant Minister’s Office
- from third parties, including peak bodies, other government agencies or persons, or contractors who may assist with the Commissions work.
What personal information we collect
Depending on your interaction with us, we may collect different kinds of information about you. This can include:
- personal information about you such as your name, address, gender, date of birth, contact information (e.g. your email and phone number), organisational positions.
- personal information about your circumstances such as your cultural and linguistic background and language preferences; relevant disabilities; citizenship and residency information; your racial or ethnic origin (including whether you identify as Indigenous); religious beliefs or affiliations, philosophical beliefs, sexual orientation or practices.
- sensitive information specific to the work of the Commission such as:
- whether you identify as a victim-survivor
- whether you identify as person with lived experience of family, domestic and/or sexual violence
- whether you identify as a family member, friend or carer of a victim-survivor and/or person with lived experience
- personal information about your interactions with us and your use of our online services such as information about:
- online forms or applications that you fill in
- feedback or complaints
- mailing and subscription lists
- ministerial or Commission correspondence
- submissions to consultations or reviews that we administer
- your telephone or face-to-face conversations with us.
- information collected through our website. When you visit our website, the website server logs the following information:
- the type of browser and operating system you are using
- the address of the referring site (for example, the Google search page)
- your IP address (a number which is unique to the modem, router or gateway that connects you to the internet)
- the date, time and address of each page you visit on the website
- how long you visited the website for
- the date, time and address of each document you download from our website.
- for Commission staff and contractors, personal information for employment and personnel matters.
Generally, we will only collect sensitive information with your consent. However, we may collect sensitive information without your consent where it is required or authorised by law, a court or tribunal order, or otherwise permitted under the Privacy Act.
Why we collect information and how we use and disclose it
We can only use and disclose your personal information for the purpose for which it was collected.
We collect personal information for a variety of different purposes relating to our functions and activities including:
- engaging with stakeholders
- undertaking a coordination role across government
- policy development, research and evaluation
- complaints and enquiry handling
- performing our employment and personnel functions in relation to our staff and contractors
- contract management
- investigations, audits and fraud and compliance functions
- handling information access requests, including those made to the Commission under the Freedom of Information Act 1982(link is external)
- seeking legal advice if required
- managing our correspondence, including from Ministers, the media or members of the public.
We want to understand the priorities and issues reported by victim-survivors, people with lived experience, advocates and individuals to the Commission to inform the work of the Commission in influencing and promoting improved policy development, service and system reforms to ensure better services are available to those in need.
Who we disclose your information to
We may disclose your personal information (including sensitive information):
- to the Department, so it can help us undertake our functions and activities, such as handling complaints, investigations and Freedom of Information requests
- to our IT and other service providers if they need access to provide their services to us. We make sure that our service providers are bound by strict privacy and confidentiality obligations
- other relevant authorities or third parties if we are authorised or required by law or otherwise permitted under the Privacy Act, such as to comply with mandatory reporting requirements in relation to suspected cases of domestic violence or abuse; or to lessen or prevent a serious threat to the life, health or safety of any individual, or to public health or safety.
If we are issued with a subpoena requiring disclosure of personal information, we take reasonable steps to ascertain whether disclosure might result in further harm or distress to those experiencing domestic violence or abuse. If so, we use all reasonable endeavours to object to the disclosure on any legal grounds available to us, however, the Commission may still be required to produce documents sought under a subpoena or other court order.
Disclosure of personal information overseas
We will, on occasion, disclose personal information to overseas recipients. The situations in which we may transfer personal information overseas include:
- the provision of personal information to recipients using a web-based email account where data is stored on an overseas server, and
- the provision of personal information to foreign governments and law enforcement agencies (in limited circumstances and where authorised by law).
It is not practicable to list every country to which the Commission may provide personal information as this will vary depending on the circumstances.
However, you may contact us to find out which countries, if any, your information has been given to.
How we store personal information
We take reasonable steps to protect your personal information against misuse, interference and loss and from unauthorised access, modification and disclosure. These include:
- any paper records you provide to us are stored securely and in accordance with Australian government security guidelines
- personal information you provide to us is only accessed by authorised personnel on a ‘need-to-know’ basis
- we monitor all access to our IT systems, with access only permitted with authenticated credentials
- we ensure our buildings are secure
- we regularly update and audit our data storage and data security requirements
- we de-identify personal information before disclosing it whenever this is reasonably practicable, unless disclosure of your identity is required or authorised by law.
We destroy or archive personal information that we hold when it is no longer required, in accordance with the Archives Act 1983 (Cth).
How to access and correct your personal information
Accessing your personal information
You have the right to ask for access to the personal information that we hold about you. You can do this using our contact details below.
If you ask us for access to the information we must give you access, unless there is a law that allows us, or requires us, not to give you access.
If we refuse to give you access to your personal information we will let you know in writing and will provide reasons for our refusal.
The Department will assist with actioning your request.
Updating your personal information
You have the right to ask that we correct personal information that we hold about you. You can do this using our contact details below.
If you ask us to correct your personal information we must take reasonable steps to correct your information if we consider that it is incorrect.
If we refuse to correct your personal information we will let you know in writing and will provide reasons for our refusal.
The Department will assist with actioning your request.
Services Australia manages our website for us.
If you visit our website to read or download information, a range of technical information is recorded but this does not reveal your identity. This information includes your IP or server address, your general locality and the date and time of your visit to the website. This information is used for statistical and development purposes.
No attempt is made to identify you through your browsing other than in exceptional circumstances, such as an investigation into the improper use of the website.
Some functionality of the website is not run by Services Australia or us and third parties may capture and store your personal information outside Australia. These third parties include (but are not limited to) Facebook, YouTube, MailChimp, SurveyMonkey, Twitter and Google, and they may not be subject to the Privacy Act at all or in the same way as Services Australia or us. We are not responsible for the privacy practices of these third parties and we encourage you to examine each website's privacy policies and make your own decisions regarding their reliability.
Our website contains links to other websites. We are not responsible for the content and privacy practices of other websites and encourage you to examine each website's privacy policies and make your own decisions regarding the reliability of material and information found.
Cookies are used to maintain contact with a user through a website session. A cookie is a small file supplied by Services Australia, and stored by your web browser software on your computer when you access our website. Cookies allow recognition of an individual web user, as they browse our website. It does not store any personal information. You may disable cookies by adjusting the settings on your web browser, but if you do this you may not be able to use the full functionality of our website.
How to make a complaint
How to complain to us
If you think we may have breached your privacy rights, you may contact us using the contact details set out below.
Your complaint will be sent to the Department’s Legal Services Group for investigation.
We will respond to your complaint promptly if you provide your contact details. You do not need to provide your name, or can use a pseudonym (a ‘fake name’), but we may not be able to fully investigate and resolve your complaint if you do not provide all relevant details.
We are committed to quick and fair resolution of any complaints, and will ensure your complaint is taken seriously. You will not be victimised or suffer negative treatment if you make a complaint.
How to complain to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC)
You also have the option of contacting the OAIC if you want to make a privacy complaint against us.
The OAIC website contains information on how to make a privacy complaint to the OAIC.
If you make a complaint directly to the OAIC, the OAIC may recommend you try to resolve the complaint directly with us in the first instance.
How to contact us
If you want to:
- obtain access to or seek correction of your personal information
- make a complaint about a breach of your privacy
please contact us using the following contact details:
- email: Enquiries@dfsvc.gov.au
- post: GPO Box 9820 Canberra ACT 2601