Confidentiality for Service Users
We don’t know who you are or where you are – unless you tell us. And what you say is between you and the Missing People charity.
We’d like you to trust us enough to talk to us. It can be hard to look for support from someone you don’t know and describe what’s going on for you and how you’re feeling about things. You are free to tell us what you want. We will listen and support you so that you can make the right choices for you. We won’t judge you.
We believe that you have a right to anonymity. This means you don’t have to give us your name when you contact us, or tell us where you are or where you live. If you do tell us your details, we will keep your contact with us confidential – only you and Missing People will know about it. If you ask us to take action for you like calling someone or passing a message, we will ask you for some real details about you so that we can do that – usually your name, date of birth and contact details. If you do identify yourself then we may keep a record on our database so that we can see how you were helped last time. Your consent for us to keep a record is discussed further in our Privacy section below.
Our duty of confidentiality applies to calls, emails texts and web chat, and these systems don’t tell us where you are. Your phone bill won’t show that you called us, although you would need to delete our 116 000 number from your phone call history or messages if you were worried someone might look at your phone to see who you have called.
If we do know who you are – because you’ve told us – and we think you or someone else is at risk of significant harm – for example, if you tell us that you might kill yourself or we know you are in danger – then we would have to consider telling emergency services so they could help you to be safe. We will always try to talk to you about why we want to do this because you have a right to know if we are thinking about taking any action which will affect you.
We take our duty of confidentiality very seriously and we would only pass on information when we consider you or someone else to be at risk of significant harm, and the law allows us to do so. For example, if the police request us to share information then we consider the situation very carefully before agreeing or disagreeing to share. We might have to make a special request to our communications providers to find out about where you are. (A list of circumstances when we might have to share your data with others is provided in the Privacy section below.)
For the purposes of training and monitoring of service quality, phone calls to our services may be listened to by additional members of staff or volunteers. All of the charity’s staff and volunteers are bound to adhere to our confidentiality policy.
If you have any concerns or questions about confidentiality, just ask us at the beginning of your contact with us.
Privacy of Service Users’ Data
What we do with your data
Missing People keeps your personal information, i.e. information from which you can be identified, on a secure database to which only we have access. The use of a database means that we are able to quickly resume effective communication even when last contact was a while ago with another member of staff our team . We only store information that is related to a missing person case. This can include sensitive personal information about the missing person and family members, e.g. their health and well-being, as well as records of our communications. We do not record telephone conversations but make notes about them.
Wherever possible we will ask for your consent to store data about you. We will explain why we need to store data. Obviously, we cannot ask someone who is missing for such consent unless they contact us. Also, it is possible that someone is not able at the time of contact to properly take in what consent means. In such situations Missing People has documented justifications under the law to store data without consent.
Personal data about a missing person is provided by the police when they refer a missing person case to us. Typically this data comprises name, age, date of birth, contact details (e.g. mobile number), appearance and risk factors (e.g. mental health concern). The police also provide personal data about family members (with their consent) typically comprising name, contact details and relationship to enable us to offer support to the family. The police also provide data about the circumstances of the missing person’s disappearance, i.e. date went missing, last known whereabouts and other circumstances. If the police ask us to contact family members to offer support we will do so and then ask for their consent to contact them in future.
When a family member asks to use our Lost Contact service they provide personal information about themselves and about the family member they have lost contact with. These are generally situations where the police do not think the person is vulnerable. Missing People will follow detailed processes in discussing the situation with the family member to ensure that the charity is satisfied that reasons for seeking the lost family member are in that person’s interest. The family member will be asked to give consent for their own data to be stored and for the missing person’s data to be used. Missing People then uses reputable sources to find possible addresses for the lost family member and writes to those addresses. The letters refer the lost family member to their rights to object to the processing, to seek access to the information we hold, to request us to rectify (correct) it, to restrict what we do with it (e.g. stop processing but store data) or to delete the information we hold . If we find the lost family member we do not share their contact information with the searching relative without the lost family member’s explicit consent .
We will not share your data with anyone without your permission except in the circumstances described below:
- Your contact relates to terrorism or bomb threats.
- We receive a formal legal request (e.g. court order) to share information with the police.
- We need to call an ambulance for you because you are unable to do it for yourself.
- You give us permission to share information with a party we are working with in order to help you better
- You identify someone who has harmed or says they are going to harm a child or vulnerable adult.
- You are in a situation which has or could cause you harm, you have given us information that identifies you and you are unable to make decisions for yourself. This applies to all young people under 13, and in some circumstances to older children and adults. We will always try to talk to you before taking action, unless we believe that this could put you at greater risk of harm.
- You threaten our staff or volunteers, or misuse our service to the detriment of others. In these circumstances we might restrict your access to our services.
How long we hold your data
Missing People will retain its case records of missing people and their families for as long as that person remains missing. This means that we will be ready to help at any time using the best information we have. This includes supporting the family by providing evidence in a Presumption of Death case. When we believe the missing person is more than 100 years old, that is, when they are very unlikely to be alive we will delete the record unless we are still supporting the family. If the record we have is an initial enquiry only and we have not gone on to support the family or missing person within 1 year, we will delete the record.
Once a missing person is found we will retain the records no longer than six years after the last contact with the missing person or a family member so that, if that person goes missing again, we can help using the best information we have.
If there has been no activity on a lost contact case for more than six years we will close the case and delete the record unless the missing person has asked us to retain sufficient data to prevent a later search request.
Missing People aims to take reasonable steps to maintain the accuracy of the data it holds about you. The contact information given to Missing People by the police concerning you, as a family member, will be checked when we are first in contact with you . We may also ask you to confirm data about your missing loved one.
Because we might retain data for a long time the contact details we hold about you might become out of date as you move your home or change your phone number etc. If you are a family member and we are supporting you, we would expect you to let us know of your changed details.
If your loved one is found and we have not been in contact with you for a long time then we may need to use reputable sources to find up to date contact details for you.
You have the rights to see the data we hold about you and, if it is not accurate, we will rectify it for you. Other rights relating to the data we hold about you are outlined below.
You also have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office if you are unhappy with the response you receive from Missing People.
Supporting Missing People
When we think you are able to consider it we may ask whether you would like to opt-in to be given the opportunity to support our campaigns including fundraising campaigns which will help us continue our vital work. If we think you are not ready to consider this we will not ask you.
What we do with Supporter data
Please see our Fundraising Promise and the Privacy of Supporters' Data below.
Privacy of Supporters' Data
Why we process your data
In order to fund our vital work Missing People relies on the generosity of supporters like you. The charity carefully manages personal data about its supporters in order to keep you informed about the charity. We do this according to data protection law and best practice. Missing People keeps your personal information, i.e. information from which you can be identified, on a secure database to which only we have access.
How we collect your data, and what we collect
The data we collect: We will usually ask for your name, date of birth and contact details so we can uniquely identify and contact you. We may also ask about your reasons for supporting the charity and your experience of supporting us so that we can develop our supporter care.
Directly: You may give us your information when, for example, you make a donation, sign up for an event or when you contact us regarding fundraising. Occasionally, when you support us your information is provided by someone working on our behalf (e.g. a professional fundraising agency), but we are responsible for your data at all times.
Indirectly: When you sign up for an event to support us, or sponsor someone who is, or join an initiative such as Child Rescue Alert your data may be shared with us by the organiser. They will only do this with your consent. Such data would typically comprise name, date of birth and contact details.
We may also collect publically available information about you, such as from news articles, to help us understand why you might be supporting us or how you could help further.
What we do with your data
We use your data to:
- Keep you informed about the charity and opportunities to support us
- Administer your donation or support your fundraising, including processing gift aid
- Keep a record of your relationship with us
- Ensure we know how you prefer to be contacted
- Understand how we can improve our information
To help raise funds cost-effectively we may analyse your data on our database to ensure our communications are relevant and timely, and to improve our supporter care.
Occasionally we may use publically available sources to build a profile of you based on the postcode you provide. This can help us to contact you with relevant communications and to make any requests for support at an appropriate level. We will not sell or rent your data with anyone and may only share it occasionally with reputable third parties to try to ensure accuracy of data by checking it against publicly available sources.
We will hold your information safely to ensure that we can respect your preferences for being contacted by us. We will also hold data to fulfil statutory obligations e.g. for Gift Aid.
We collect data about our work which is then used to calculate statistics. For example, we record how many of our calls come from young people and from adults and we count how many referrals we receive from different parts of the country. It’s important we do this so that we can develop and improve our services and also show the people who fund our work how we use their donations. We present the data in reports and use these to help fundraise to pay for our work, and to campaign to improve the situation for missing people, people thinking of going missing and their families. These reports do not include anything that could identify you.
Feedback and Complaints
Use of this Website
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- contains any material which is defamatory;
- contains any material which is obscene or offensive;
- infringes any copyright, database rights, trade mark or other intellectual property right or other right of any other person be likely to deceive any person;
- contains any material which constitutes or encourages conduct that could be considered a criminal offence, give rise to civil liability, or otherwise be contrary to the law;
- is made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party such as a contractual duty or obligation of confidentiality;
- is likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person;
- is likely to disrupt our service in any way;
- gives the impression it emanates from us where this is not the case;
- advocates, promote or assist any unlawful act, for example copyright, trade mark infringement, or computer misuse;
- puts a missing person at greater risk.