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Protecting Your Privacy
Protecting Your Privacy

What WE do to protect your privacy:

We are COMMITTED TO CONFIDENTIALITY. Both our service volunteers and our service users are anonymous.

What is Confidential?

Confidential means, the Youth Line will not repeat any information that you share with a volunteer during your conversation with anyone outside our team.  Your secrets and feelings are safe with us.

There are only a couple of exceptions, when we might have to breach this confidentiality.  These are the same exceptions you will encounter in any ‘counselling’ type service and they are required by law.

  • If you share identifying information with us about a person living in Ontario under the age of 16 who is experiencing physical, sexual or emotional abuse we have a duty to report this information to a local child protection service.
  • If you let us know that you are planning to hurt someone.
  • If you let us know that you are planning to hurt yourself.

What is anonymous?

  • We do not have call display.
  • We only know what you tell us.
  • We won’t even know your name if you don’t want us to.
  • We won’t tell you our name, so you don’t have to worry about knowing us, or bumping into us some day.
  • You choose what you want to reveal to our volunteers.
  • We don’t keep files on our service users.
  • We don’t have a ‘friends list’ for instant messaging. 

What do we know about our service users?

We keep our statistics general – asking only for your area code and some general information about your age, your ethnicity, your gender.  We do this so that we know what communities we’re reaching and what communities we need to reach out to.


What YOU can do to protect your privacy:

On Email and Instant messenger

When chatting with a Peer Support Volunteer online you might not want to use the same email that you use for work or one that has your real name or any identifying information.

Emails have a lot of information linked to them, for example your facebook page may be attached to that account. 


A big "Thank You" to the Assaulted Women’s Help Line for sharing the following tips.

Concerned about someone finding out where you've been on the net? Here's how to reduce the chances that your net travels will be traced.  Browsers like Internet Explorer and Firefox are designed to leave traces behind indicating where you've been and what you've been looking at on the Internet.

It's hard to absolutely guarantee that your travels on the Internet can't be traced at all, but here are some simple things you can do to reduce the chances that someone can look through your computer and find out what you've been reading. 

In general, you want to erase two things:

  1. Your Cache (this is where the computer stores copies of files you’ve recently looked at with your browser). 
  2. Your History List (this is a single file containing the addresses of the places you’ve recently visited).

Keep in mind that if you share your computer with your family, their Cache and History will be erased as well.

If you use Internet Explorer

  • Open the TOOLS menu, select INTERNET OPTIONS.
  • Select the GENERAL tab at the top.
  • In the section called "Temporary Internet Files," click on "Delete Files"
  • Your cache will now be cleared.
  • On the same screen, in the section called "History," click on "Clear History"
  • Your history list will now be cleared.
  • Note that clearing the cache and history in Internet Explorer automatically clears your address bar.

If you use Firefox

  • Open the TOOLS menu, select OPTIONS.
  • Select the PRIVACY tab located on the left side of the menu bar.
  • Select the "History" tab and click on "Clear"
  • Your history will now be cleared.
  • Select the "Cache" tab and click on "Clear"
  • Your cache will now be cleared.
  • Note that clearing the cache and history in Firefox automatically clears your address bar as well.

There is also another option called "Clear all information stored while browsing."
This will remove ALL of your browsing history, cache, recently downloaded files, all saved information and searches, all cookies and saved passwords.

  • Select this tab and click OK.
  • You will get a pop up to confirm that you are about to erase all information.
  • Click OK.

One additional but important tip
When you clear the cache and the history list, you erase not only the information on where you've been, but any other information that had been previously stored there.

So, if your family checks and sees that the cache and the history list have been completely emptied, they'll not only know that you know how to do this, but they might guess that you're trying to hide something.

One possible way to avoid suspicion is to clear the cache and history once you're done looking at information you don't want your family to know about. After they're cleared, spend some time visiting sites that you think your family wouldn't object to. This way, the cache and history list start to get filled up and your family might be less likely to notice that old information is missing.

Other browsers
Other browsers will be slightly different in the detail of what's required to do these two things. But in any case, what you'll need to do is clear your cache (or "temporary files") and erase your history list. Again, this doesn't guarantee that your browsing can't be traced. Someone with greater computer sophistication will still be able to reconstruct your net travels. But it's a good thing to do to make it more difficult for someone to know where you've been.