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Explain how to balance the tension between confidentiality and openness in records and reports

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NOTE: Although this page has been marked as complete, it has not yet been peer-reviewed or quality-assured, therefore it should be considered a ‘first draft‘ and any information should be fact-checked independently.

As a rule, practitioners should always respect the confidentiality of the individuals that they work with and obtain their consent before sharing information. However, there will be times when information will need to be shared with others without the individual’s consent. This can result in tension and dilemmas.

A good example of this is when an individual discloses that they have been a victim of abuse and wants you to keep it a secret. You would explain that you are unable to keep their disclosure confidential because you have a duty of care to protect the individual and others from abuse and to do this you must make a record of their disclosure and share it with others.

However, you should also reassure the individual that their disclosure will only be shared with those that need to know as part of the protection and safeguarding process.

Generally, information should be shared if there is a risk of harm to an individual if not shared. If you are not sure, you should discuss the issue with your manager who will be able to provide further guidance.

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