Family and Friends Forum

Confidentiality

Esther

Member since
September 2018

72 posts

Posted Fri September 7, 2018 4:54pmReport post

I'm finding this forum really helpful but I do have an issue about confidentiality. Whilst you have to register and log in to post comments, anyone can read the posts if they happen to look at the Stopitnow! website. This could include people who might identify individuals if they share any specific details. Partners and former partners may very well be browsing the site and get curious. I really feel that this forum needs to be a safe and secure space in which we can have uninhibited discussions without fear that just anyone might be eavesdropping. I think it would be helpful if users had to register and log if they want to read posts as well as if they actually want to respond to them. People may be put off using the site if they think it is too exposed and in the public domain.

Edited by moderator Wed May 5, 2021 3:36pm

Paula

Member since
September 2018

80 posts

Posted Sun September 9, 2018 8:45amReport post

I totally agree Esther. This needs to be rectified before I will continue posting.

Lucy from Stop it Now!

Member since
September 2018

185 posts

Posted Mon September 10, 2018 2:34pmReport post

Hello Esther and Paula, thank you very much for contributing to the forum and for your feedback. This is a crucial issue for us to think about. In light of your comments, we are going to change the forum agreement to make it clearer that, currently at least, the forum is an ‘open forum’ and to stress the importance of not posting any information which could identify anyone.

As to whether people should have to register in order to access the forum, there are pros and cons. On the one hand, it sounds like it would feel reassuring to know that people need to register in order to access the forum and read the threads / posts. This is obviously important. On the other hand, we cannot screen people who register and so it would still be possible for anyone to register and read the posts – albeit it would involve an extra step. Whichever way round (register to read or register to post), it will remain important that people are mindful of what information they post about themselves so that they are not left feeling anxious or exposed.

Another issue is that we would like the forum to be as accessible as possible. The experience of other forums, like that of the Family Rights Group http://www.frg.org.uk/FandFCForum/ is that more people access forums passively, without posting anything, rather than actively contributing to the forums, by posting comments. In short, they appreciate the chance to read others’ posts without contributing themselves, which is fair enough. We think this will be true for this forum – time will tell. If people have to register first, this makes the forum slightly less accessible to these users, and people might not register if they cannot see the kinds of discussions taking place.

All that said, this is your forum and we would like to keep an open mind about the best way to set it up. We will make a decision in due course when we have had a chance to weigh up all relevant factors, including technical considerations. But for now we would welcome more feedback from more of you: register to read or register to post, what do you think? And, either way, please be mindful about what you post. The last thing we want is for anyone to be left feeling more unsafe or vulnerable.

Wife and mum

Member since
September 2018

34 posts

Posted Mon September 10, 2018 2:52pmReport post

Hi,

I agree. I know it would be entirely unethical, but you could also get students and researchers using the data without our or Stop It Now's permission. I know in using the forum we have almost agreed to that, but I think a few more checks in place.

Esther

Member since
September 2018

72 posts

Posted Tue September 11, 2018 6:35pmReport post

This is a really big issue for me. I do feel strongly that there should be more checks by the forum moderator so that our very personal and sensitive discussions are not there for general consumption on the web. I don't like the idea that anyone can access our posts. Whilst I understand that there may be people 'just watching' who are nevertheless deriving some strength from following the discussions, I do think that this consideration is far outweighed by the fact that most people actually posting are feeling vulnerable, frightened, betrayed and are possibly suffering from low self-esteem. I see the forum ideally as a kind of safe room (a virtual one, obviously) in which we can interact and provide the sort of peer support that is vital for our mental recovery.

What do other family members feel about whether or not the forum activity should be open for anyone to view?

Lucy from Stop it Now!

Member since
September 2018

185 posts

Posted Wed September 12, 2018 10:15amReport post

Thank you everyone for your comments and views so far on this really important issue. They are very much appreciated and under discussion/review here.

We are aware that some people would like to feed their views back on this issue of confidentiality, but may be reluctant to do so on the forum. If that is the case, please do email your views to us via this email address: contact@lucyfaithfull.org.uk . The emails will then be forwarded straight away to the people managing the Family and Friends Forum. We really want to hear your views on this so please do email us.

Many thanks.

Edited by moderator Wed September 12, 2018 10:16am

Maggie

Member since
September 2018

2 posts

Posted Sun September 16, 2018 8:07amReport post

I have just joined the forum. I am keen to both contribute to, and gain support from, a mutually supportive group such as this but am reluctant to share information about my situation in a public forum (other than the fact that I am a wife and mother whose husband has a problem of this kind). What other forms of mutual support are there (if any)?

Lucy from Stop it Now!

Member since
September 2018

185 posts

Posted Mon October 29, 2018 4:07pmReport post

Hi all, we wanted to update you on where we’ve got to with this important issue.

First, as some of you may have noticed, we have changed the forum agreement to make it clear that the forum is public. We have also added a ‘tick box’ for people to confirm they understand this, in case, for example, someone had not read the agreement carefully.

To date, the feedback we have received both via email and via the Stop it Now! Helpline is that some people are finding it helpful to read the topics and posts without having registered. And, of course, in recent weeks we have been really heartened to see the number of people who have had the courage to post on the forum, and we are grateful for the positive feedback we have received.

With all of the above in mind, we are therefore inclined to leave things how they are for now, so that people do not have to register to read the posts. We know there are downsides to this, but we are keen to make the forum as accessible as possible without compromising people’s sense of safety – it’s about striking the right balance. In the meantime, please continue to share your thoughts with us about this issue either by posting on this topic or by emailing us at contact@lucyfaithfull.org.uk

And, of course, please continue to use the forum safely, being mindful not to disclose any information that might personally identify you or someone else. Thank you.

Esther

Member since
September 2018

72 posts

Posted Tue October 30, 2018 6:46amReport post

I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with the way the forum is set up now it has actually ‘bedded in’ so to speak. Everyone seems to be ok about sharing their stories and concerns and I don’t get the sense that our honesty is being abused by people who really shouldn’t be looking. I’m happy that’s things are being left for now.

Paula

Member since
September 2018

80 posts

Posted Tue October 30, 2018 7:58amReport post

Yes I agree. Like Esther I was initially really concerned about the privacy aspect but I feel more comfortable about it all now and the forum really is coming into its own.