National Stalking Helpline Forum Terms and Conditions
The National Stalking Helpline forum provides its services subject to the following terms and conditions. These will be updated from time to time and it is each user’s responsibility to ensure they review and agree with the current terms of service. Once a user registers with the forums, they indicate that they accept these terms and conditions. Their continued use of the forums indicates that they are aware of and agree with any revisions.
The views expressed on this forum are not necessarily those of the National Stalking Helpline.
The forums are designed to create a safe space where users can talk about their experiences, seek and give support to and from other victims and find out more about current advice for stalking victims. These policies have been created to facilitate a safe environment for users and staff members.
The National Stalking Helpline is not responsible for any user-generated content on the site. Although advice might be given by users with the best of intentions, it might not always be correct. This particularly applies to any advice concerning laws and legislations, where advice on this forum is not a substitute for advice from a legal professional.
We have measures in place to create a safe environment in these forums. However, each user’s safety is their own responsibility and the National Stalking Helpline is not responsible for the well-being of members. Users access this forum at their own risk and the National Stalking Helpline is not liable for any damage (direct or indirect) or loss of data that arises from the following:
- The use and performance of the website (including delays or inaccessibility caused by technical issues).
- Advice obtained through the forums, including links to external sites.
- Any user-generated content (including posts, messages, graphics or user names).
- Any opinions expressed by users on the site.
- Any breaches in the terms and conditions of use and/or user guidelines by other users.
- Accounts created using false or inaccurate information and/or accounts created for malicious. use or for a purpose other than that which is within the remit of the forums.
- Requests for emergency assistance. The National Helpline Forums cannot respond to emergency situations and users in immediate danger should call 999.
Members are legally responsible for the content they post and the National Stalking Helpline and associates are not liable for inappropriate content or that which contravenes the laws of England and Wales.
An Important Note for Victims Involved in Ongoing Cases
Users involved in ongoing police or court cases must not discuss details of the case or give away identifying information about involved members of the public or police force. It is against the law and, in doing so, users put the National Stalking Helpline, themselves and their case at risk of legal liability. Persons persistently discussing details of ongoing cases will be removed from the forum and their posts will be deleted.
Conditions of Use
Users must be at least 16 years of age to sign up.
2. Personal details.
Users must not post identifiable personal details about themselves or others. National Stalking Helpline cannot be held responsible for consequences that arise from posting personal information. Users must take the appropriate steps to ensure they do not put themselves at risk. We recommend users create a separate email address for their forum account that is different to their regular email address and cannot be identified as theirs.
The National Stalking Helpline reserves the right to edit or remove content from the forums. A breach of the terms and conditions or user guidelines will result in a warning and/or a permanent removal from the forum. The National Stalking Helpline is not liable for any content posted on the forum and members are legally responsible for their posts. Users must not do any of the following:
- Publish, post, upload, distribute or disseminate any inappropriate, indecent, profane, derogatory, seditious, sexually-orientated, illegal or vulgar material, information or topic.
- Upload or download files that breach UK copyright laws.
- Upload files containing malware, spyware, corrupted files, viruses or any other similar software that might damage the forums or another user’s computer.
- Advertise or sell goods or information for commercial purposes, either directly or indirectly.
- Submit spam posts.
- Post off-topic or irrelevant content that is not related to experiences concerning stalking and/or harassment.
- Solicit or ask for practical help from other forum users, such as money, accommodation or other services.
- Threaten, abuse, harass, insult or violate the legal rights of another user.
- Use the forums to stalk another user.
- Reference another user’s personality or standing within the community using a negative context.
- Engage in disagreements, disputes or arguments of a personal nature.
- Knowingly publish false information, including personal, copyright, accusatory or legal information.
- Create multiple accounts or post under the account of another user.
- Act in a way that restricts other users from accessing and utilising the forum OR act in a way that prevents users enjoying the forums.
- Prove or disprove concerns relating to statutory agencies (including the police and government) orchestrating criminal activity.
Users are reminded to:
- Treat other users with respect and as you yourself would like to be treated.
- Respect other users’ privacy.
- Respect other users’ experiences and not to invalidate them.
- Respect other users’ experiences of the forums.
We request that users don’t discuss sexual acts using graphic detail or language. If you have been sexually abused or assaulted, you might find it helpful to visit the following sites: [URL="http://www.rapecrisis.org.uk/"]Rape Crisis[/URL], [URL="http://www.womensaid.org.uk/"]Women’s Aid[/URL] or call the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre on 08451 221 331.
Users who are posting about sexual abuse or assault should add the code ‘*G*’ to the title of their post to inform other users that there could be sexually explicit or triggering content inside.
The National Stalking Helpline provides advice in line with contemporary research and approaches to the topic of stalking. We aim to produce up-to-date information for users but are not liable for any damage or other consequences suffered by users as a result of using the forums or acting upon advice from the forums. Users are requested not to provide each other with advice and any user doing so will be warned, and possibly removed, from the boards. While users are welcome to make suggestions, the National Stalking Helpline respects the autonomy and individuality of each user and their situation and does not support a ‘one fits all’ solution. Users are reminded that it is the recipient of the advice that will have to live with the consequences and therefore it is unfair and even damaging to offer definitive advice to other members of the board. The National Stalking Helpline reserves the right to edit or remove posts that offer misinformation or advice to other users.
The National Stalking Helpline forums are designed to enable victims of stalking to give and receive peer to peer emotional support, provide practical advice on dealing with stalking and harassment and give more information about the law. The forum staff are not trained counselling professionals and the forum should not be used as a substitute for professional counselling. The National Stalking Helpline is not able to respond to emergency situations and we do not accept posts of this nature. If users are in immediate danger, they should call 999 or their relevant emergency services. Posts about suicidal ideation are not accepted and will be removed.
Users are responsible for their own security while using the National Stalking Helpline forums. We advise users to ensure their anti-virus software is up to date, to create a separate email address to register for the forum and to create a screen name that doesn’t contain identifying information. We strongly advise users not to share contact details with other forum members and never to meet offline. This is highly risky and the National Stalking Helpline cannot be held liable for any consequences that transpire from interactions with another forum user. The National Stalking Helpline is not responsible for any breaches in security that cause harm or damage either to users’ computers or their persons as a result of using the forums.
The National Stalking Helpline has no obligation to moderate the forums. However, we reserve the right to issue warnings to or remove users who break the terms of service and user guidelines and to remove or edit other users’ posts. Forum moderators operate under a confidentiality policy but reserve the right to break confidentiality under certain conditions. (See 8.) Users can contact the forum staff if they feel an unfair moderation has taken place. However, once their case has been reviewed, the community manager’s decision is final.
The National Stalking Helpline maintains a confidential service. ‘Confidential’ in this context means within the National Stalking Helpline as an organisation, not confidentiality between a user and a moderator. However, we might consider breaking confidentiality if we perceive a risk of harm to a user of another person. Instances in which we would consider breaking confidentiality include but are not limited to:
- If the user or third party is at high and immediate risk of serious physical harm or death including suicide or self harm.
- If we receive information that a child is currently being abused or neglected.
- If we receive a court order to do so.
- If we are instructed to by the police (if they issue us a warrant).
- When a Helpline forum user threatens forum staff or Helpline Associates or makes Helpline staff or Helpline Associates feel threatened.
- When a Helpline forum user tries to prevent the Helpline being used effectively to support others.
- If we receive information about terrorist activities or a bomb threat.
Users are reminded that although the forums are closed (i.e. members must register to be able to view the forums), they are still in the public domain. Therefore, users should exercise caution in their conduct and in sharing information about themselves, family and friends to other users on the forum.
All users must agree to the terms and conditions of use as well as the user guidelines before registering with the National Stalking Helpline forums. These have been created to protect the safety of users and staff and must be adhered to at all times. Users who do not adhere to the terms and conditions and user guidelines will be warned and/or removed from the forums. Users’ acceptance of terms and conditions upon registration and their continued use of the forums will be taken as an implicit agreement of future updates to the terms and conditions. It is users’ responsibility to stay aware of updates to the forum’s terms and conditions. The National Stalking Helpline will display updates to terms and conditions but will not be responsible for contacting individual users.
The National Stalking Helpline collects data when members register that we collate into user statistics to improve user experience and raise awareness about stalking. Some of this data is mandatory in order to register, while other data is optional. All individual data is confidential in line with the National Stalking Helpline’s confidentiality policy. We do not share individual data with third parties. Users have the right to request information about their data in writing under Section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998. The community manager will maintain a record of all users who are removed for misusing the forum for six months after the event.
11. Misuse of the Forum.
The National Stalking Helpline operates a strict removal policy and we reserve the right to remove user accounts without warning. Users are requested to familiarise themselves with the terms and conditions and user guidelines before posting to avoid unknowingly breaching the terms of service. Offences including threatening other users, using obscene language or creating false accounts will result in removal. Other, less serious guideline breaches will result in a warning and, upon a second offence, a removal. If users are unsure whether their post would constitute a breach in user guidelines, they should contact a moderator or the community manager for more information before submitting their post.
12. Account Removal
The National Stalking Helpline reserves the right to remove users from the forum. Users who feel their accounts have been removed unfairly or in error can appeal to the community manager in writing. All decisions made by the community manager are final.
Users are under no obligation to notify forum staff if they decide to stop using the forums. Users who wish to leave the forums and have their posts removed can notify a moderator or the community manager in writing. A member of forum staff will contact the user to confirm your account removal and, following confirmation, their account will be removed after five working days. The guidelines concerning confidentiality and sharing information about other users to non-members still apply, even when a member has stopped using the forums.
13. Reporting Misuse or Abuse
Users who witness other members being abusive, misusing the forums or acting in a suspicious manner will be able to report this to moderating staff. All reports will be taken seriously and investigated. While reporting suspicious activity is important to the safety of the forums, investigating reports does take time so we request that users only file a report when they have evidence another user has broken the board guidelines or terms and conditions.
14. Feedback and Complaints
The National Stalking Helpline welcomes feedback from users and might occasionally post feedback surveys on the forums. If users have any feedback about the forum service or would like to make a complaint, they should contact a moderator or the community manager. User queries will be dealt with a soon as possible.