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If/when information about a minor might be disclosed

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Hi all,

We hope this clarifies our position on disclosing information about minors.

Occasionally, a member may disclose information at Pandy's that is deemed to be serious enough to warrant reporting that information to the emergency services for real-life assistance. While we want to ensure that members who are hurting have a place where they can talk about their lives and their feelings, in some situations a member may require immediate professional assistance in order to ensure their safety.

Please be advised that the situations where we may feel legally obligated to pass information onto the emergency services are:

  • When a minor, as defined as someone under the age of 18, discloses that he / she is currently being physically or sexually abused.
  • When a minor or an adult announces imminent suicidal intent or announces that he or she plans to harm another person.

We will not consider reporting to the emergency services in situations:

  • When a minor discloses that abuse happened in the past (unless it is also disclosed that she or he fears it will happen again).
  • When an adult discloses that abuse is currently happening.
  • When a minor or adult discloses suicidal ideation without intent.

I am concerned about the safety of another member, what should I do?

If you are worried about a member because of information disclosed at Pandy's and you feel that it meets the criteria to report to the emergency services, then please let the board moderating team know so we can then investigate further. Any information you pass to us will be treated sensitively and in confidence.

Am I betraying the member's confidence by reporting my concerns to the board moderators?

Absolutely not. If a member is at serious risk of immediate harm, its very important that we get them the help they need so that they can be safe. We have had members return to the board following involvement by the emergency services and they have often expressed gratitude for the moderating team intervening and assisting them in getting the help they felt unable to ask for themselves.

I am worried now that something I've said may be reported?

It is very important that members feel free to talk about what they are feeling or going through without fearing being reported to the emergency services. Please be assured that, in reality, the situations where we have been obligated to step in and contact the authorities are few and far between - and that we have only done this after discussion of all of the options. By providing you with this information, we have provided you with the opportunity to make an informed choice about what you disclose at Pandy's.

Off the board, I am actually a mandated reporter. What should I do if I see a member who is unsafe?

We know that some members of this board are also mandated reporters in their offline lives. It is really important that members feel able to speak about what they are feeling or going through without fearing being unknowingly reported to the authorities. In the case of chat, if you are a mandated reporter and are legally bound to report abuse or the risk of suicide of people you encounter online, then we ask that you identify yourself as such to a member if you feel they may potentially disclose information that you may feel the need to report. This is in line with the process used in real life in order to give the other person the opportunity to make an informed choice of how they wish to proceed.

If you feel a member is in danger and believe you have a legal obligation to report, we do strongly encourage you to discuss this first with the moderating team so that we can collectively come to an appropriate decision. If you feel you are legally compelled to report information to the emergency services before discussion with the moderating team, then please be aware that we will not turn over any information ourselves unless we deem it necessary as per our own guidelines.

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