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Privacy Statement

At Berry Street we are committed to protecting the privacy of the information that we collect about you during your time with our service.

We are bound by the Australian Privacy Principles in the Privacy Act 1998 (Cth), the Information Privacy Principles in the Information Privacy Act 2000 (Vic) and the Health Privacy Principles in the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic) (Privacy Legislation) which regulate how organisations may collect, use, disclose and store personal information, and how individuals may access and correct personal information held about them.

Whose personal information do we collect?

We collect personal information from our staff, clients and their families, volunteers and supporters of Berry Street.

How does Berry Street collect your personal information?

We collect and handle a range of personal information for the purposes of carrying out our services.

The services Berry Street offers include:

  • residential care
  • family violence
  • foster and kinship care
  • family and disability services
  • therapeutic services
  • education and training;

Berry Street collects personal information in several different ways, for example when you contact us, through forms, telephone and through our website.

What personal information does Berry Street collect?

We will only collect information if it is relevant and reasonably necessary for one of our functions or activities. The information will be collected by lawful and fair means.

Berry Street will usually collect personal information directly from you and with your consent. However, we sometimes need to collect information from a third party, such as your carer, trustee or authorised representative, or from public sources.

Confidential information

If, as part of our service provision, personal information is given to us in confidence about an individual who is not receiving our service, we will:

  • confirm with the person that the information is to remain confidential and
  • record the information only if it is relevant to the provision of our service or the care of the individual
  • take reasonable steps to ensure that the information is accurate and not misleading
  • take reasonable steps to record that the information is given in confidence and is to remain confidential

Collecting of sensitive information

Sometimes we may need to collect sensitive information about you. This might include information about your health, racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, association membership, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or criminal history.

As part of administering our services, we may collect health information. For example, Berry Street collects health information (such as medical history) from some clients who are part of specific programs, such as our Residential Services or Foster care programs. When collecting health information from you, we will obtain your consent to such collection and explain how the information will be used and disclosed.

If we collect health information from a third-party (such as your doctor) we will inform you that this information has been collected and will explain how this information will be used and disclosed.


In some circumstances (for example when a third party such as a parent wants to see client information) Berry Street may need to determine whether the individual can and will provide consent.

There are no specific rules determining when an individual has capacity to provide consent. The Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner recommends that as a general principle ‘a young person is able to give consent when he or she has sufficient understanding and maturity to understand what is being proposed’ and both the Victorian Privacy Commissioner and Victorian Health Services Commissioner have expressed support for a similar principle.

The ability to provide consent will depend on the age of the individual and whether they have an intellectual disability that may prevent them from having sufficient understanding of what they are consenting to.

We will provide information about our consent process and ensure that you are consulted regarding the use of your personal information.

Use and Disclosure

We will normally use or disclose your personal information only for the purposes that it was given to us, and for purposes that are related to one of our services or activities.

We may disclose your personal information to external organisations, including:

  • Government departments or agencies who provide funding for Berry Street’s services;
  • Contractors who manage some of the services that we offer to you. We take steps to ensure that these contractors comply with the Privacy Legislation when they handle your personal information and they are authorised only to use personal information in order to provide the services or to perform the functions required by Berry Street;
  • Doctors and health care professionals who assist us to deliver our services;
  • Other regulatory bodies;
  • Referees or former employers of Berry Street employees and volunteers, and candidates for Berry Street employee and volunteer positions; and
  • Our professional advisors, including our accountants, auditors and lawyers.

Except as set out above, we will not disclose your personal information to a third party unless one of the following applies:

  • You (or the individual for whom you are the representative) have consented;
  • If we believe you would reasonably expect us to use or disclose the information for another purpose related to the purpose for which it was collected (or in the case of sensitive information, directly related to the purpose for which it was collected);
  • If required to do so by law;
  • If it will prevent or lessen a serious or imminent threat to somebody’s life, health or safety or to public health or safety;
  • It is necessary to provide a public health service;
  • It is necessary for the management, funding or monitoring of a health service relevant to public health or safety;
  • If it is reasonably necessary for the enforcement of a law conducted by an enforcement body;
  • It is reasonably necessary to assist in locating a missing person;
  • It is reasonably necessary to the conduct of proceedings before a court or tribunal, or for a confidential disputes resolution process; or

Marketing and Communications

We may share information that we have received through our marketing activities to trusted third parties such as our mailing house and our bank. We may collect, use and disclose this information for purposes to process and record donations, provide receipts, contact you about our activities, and to provide you with our newsletters, reports, invitations and requests for support. We may contact you using several different mediums for example by phone, mail, email, social media, SMS etc.

We may occasionally collaborate with other charitable organisations on mailings with information that we believe may be of interest to you. These organisations usually allow us to do the same, and by collaborating like this, we expand the number of people we can help.

You will be offered the opportunity to ‘opt out’ if you do not wish to receive this information. You can also contact us on 1800 237 797 if you prefer not to receive future communication from us.


When you access our website or connect with us through social media, we or our third-party service providers, may use “Cookies” (small data files placed on your device that do not identify individuals personally but do identify devices). We may also use software (such as JavaScript), or similar technology.

This allows us to:

  • Remember your details and preferences when you return;
  • Maintain the continuity of your browsing session (eg. maintaining a shopping cart)
  • Use Google Analytics to collect information such as demographics and interests, visits to our websites, length of visit and pages viewed; and
  • Tailor our advertising through advertising networks on other websites.

You can set your browser to notify you when you receive a Cookie and this will provide you with an opportunity to either accept or reject it in each instance. Please note that if you do this, it may affect some of the functions on our website.

We take great care to protect your personal information on our website and whenever you communicate with us. Once we receive your personal information, we take reasonable steps to protect its security.

Quality of the Information that we hold

We take reasonable steps to ensure that the personal information that we collect, use or disclose is relevant, accurate, complete and up to date. If at any time you wish to update your personal information, you can do so by contacting our Privacy Officer (details below).

Security of the Information that we hold

We take reasonable steps to protect the personal information that we hold from misuse, loss, interference and from unauthorised access, modification and disclosure.

These measures include password protection for accessing our electronic IT systems, securing paper files in locked cabinets and physical access restrictions. Our systems are regularly audited to ensure that only authorised personnel are permitted to access these details.

Retention and Disposal of Information

We only keep personal information for as long as is required. Information that is retained will be archived in such a way that facilitates easy retrieval yet does not compromise security.

When personal information is no longer required it is destroyed in a secure manner.

Access and Correction of information that we hold

If you request access to the personal information we hold about you, or request that we change that personal information, we will allow access or make the changes to your personal information unless we consider there is a sound reason under the Privacy Legislation to withhold the information or not to make the changes.

Requests for access should be made to the Privacy Officer (details of which are set out below). For security reasons, you will be required to put your request in writing and provide proof of identity. This is necessary to ensure that personal information is only provided to the correct individuals and the privacy of others is not undermined. Request for Release of Information - Personal

We will take all reasonable steps to provide access or the requested information within 14 days of your request. In situations where the request is complicated or requires access to a large volume of information, we will take reasonable steps to provide access to the requested information within 30 days.

In general, access will be denied where:

  • the request does not relate to the personal information of the person making the request;
  • Providing access would pose a serious threat to the life, health or safety of the person making the requests;
  • Providing the information would have an unreasonable impact on the privacy of other individuals;
  • the request for access is frivolous or vexatious;
  • the information relates to existing or anticipated legal proceedings;
  • providing access would prejudice negotiations with the individual making the request;
  • providing access would be unlawful;
  • denying access is required or authorised by law;
  • providing access would be likely to prejudice:
  • law enforcement activities;
  • an action relating to suspected unlawful activity, or misconduct of a serious nature relating to the functions or activities of Berry Street;
  • access discloses a commercially sensitive decision-making process or information; or
  • any other reason that is provided for under the Privacy Legislation.

Where an individual is given access to personal information and establishes that the information is not accurate, complete or up to date, Berry Street will take reasonable steps to correct the information accordingly. If the individual and Berry Street disagree about the content of the information, the individual may request Berry Street to add a statement claiming that the information is not accurate, complete or up to date. Berry Street will take all reasonable steps to do this.

If Berry Street refuses to provide access or make changes, it will provide reasons for doing so to the individual.

Upon request for access to or correction of personal information Berry Street will:

  • provide access or reasons for denial of access
  • correct the personal information or provide reasons for refusal to correct personal information
  • provide reasons for the delay in responding as soon as practicable but no later than 30 days after receiving the request.

If we deny access to information we will set our reasons for denying access. Where there is a dispute about your right of access to information or forms of access, this will be dealt with in accordance with the complaints procedure set out below.

Complaints Procedure

If you have provided us with personal and sensitive information, or we have collected and hold your personal and sensitive information, you have a right to make a complaint and have it investigated and dealt with under this complaints procedure.

If you have a complaint about Berry Street’s privacy practices or our handling of your personal and sensitive information please contact our Privacy Officer (details of which are set out below).

Unique Identifiers

We will not normally adopt as our own, an identifier of an individual that has been assigned by other organisations. We will not disclose an identifier assigned to an individual unless the disclosure is permitted under the Privacy Legislation.


Where lawful and practicable, Berry Street will take all reasonable steps to comply with a request to access our services on an anonymous basis or using a pseudonym. However, we may not be able to deliver the services in question if you do not provide us with the personal information requested.

Trans-border Data Flows

If we are otherwise required to send information overseas, we will take measures to protect your personal information, by either ensuring that the destination country has similar protections in relation to privacy or that we enter into contractual arrangements with the recipient of your personal information that safeguards your privacy.

Changes to this privacy policy

Berry Street reserves the right to review, amend and/or update this policy from time to time.

How to contact us

You can obtain further information in relation to this privacy policy, or provide us with any comments, by contacting the Privacy officer at:

Berry Street
PO Box 2171
Richmond Victoria 3121
Phone: (03) 9429 9266
Fax: (03) 9429 5160

For information about privacy generally, or if your concerns are not resolved to your satisfaction, you can contact the Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner on 1300 363 992 or via