Privacy Policy

Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs (Scottish Families) is committed to protecting your privacy and security. This policy explains how and why we use your personal data to make sure you remain informed and in control of your information.

We are fully committed to the General Data Protection Regulation and the UK Data Protection Act 2018 which govern how we can communicate with you. We choose to rely on you giving us your consent about how we can contact you in relation to using our national and local family support services, marketing, campaigning, and fundraising.

You can decide not to receive communications or change how we contact you at any time. If you wish to do so, please contact our inbox by emailing as this is the best way to get in touch with us.

We will never sell your personal information.

Any questions you have in relation to this policy and how we use your personal data should be sent to

About us

Your personal information (i.e., any information which identifies you or which can be identified as relating to you) will be collected and used by Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs (company no: 345289 and registered Scottish charity SC034737).

What information we collect

Personal data you provide

We collect data you provide to us. This includes information you give when registering to our mailing list, contacting our national and local family support services (phone, text, webchat, email), donating to us, signing our campaign appeals, or through our online contact form. For example:

  • Personal details (name, date of birth, email address, home address, telephone number etc.) when you are being referred to our family support services, donating to us or joining our mailing list,
  • Financial information when donating or purchasing a training course (payment information such as credit/debit card details, whether donations are gift-aided etc.),
  • Details such as age, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

Information we generate

We regularly conduct research and analysis of the information we hold about the people who are using our mailing list or family support services. However, this remains as statistical information and we do not use any personal details in this research. Details such as names, emails, phone numbers and addresses will never be included.

Most of the personal information we use regarding analysis and research is anonymised so it can no longer be linked to a particular person. This information is used for a variety of purposes such as reports, identifying trends and patterns to use in giving insight to our reports, sharing with the media and funders, and any other viable reason. This information helps to inform our actions and improve our services.

We also conduct research on our audiences on our website, mailing list and social media platforms that help us build a profile of who is communicating with us and what is likely to interest you and be of relevance.

Sensitive personal data

If you are using our national or local family support services, we collect and store personal data relating to your health and life circumstances, and potentially the health and life circumstances of your family. We produce client notes on each of your sessions if you are using our family support services to make sure you are getting the right tailored support. This data is given extra care to make sure your privacy rights are protected. Only your practitioner and their line manager will have access to your client notes.

How we use information

We only ever use your personal information with your consent, or where it is necessary in order to:

  • Refer you to our national and local family support services for contact and service use,
  • Send you marketing communications through our mailing list,
  • Protect your vital interests,
  • Comply with a legal duty.

We will only use your personal information for the purpose or purposes it was collected for or else for closely related purposes.


We use personal information to communicate with you to promote our services and work, and to help with our fundraising. This includes sending your emails through our mailing list containing news, updates, campaigns, fundraising events and appeals, and any other information that is of relevance.


We use personal information for administration purposes (i.e. to carry out our charity work). This includes:

  • Receiving donations (e.g. direct debits or gift-aid instructions),
  • Maintaining a database of our supporters and people who have donated (either regularly, one-off, attending a fundraising event or completing a fundraising challenge).
  • Helping us respect your choices and preferences (e.g. if you asked not to receive marketing or further contact, we’ll keep a record of this).

Research and analysis

We carry out research and analysis on our mailing list subscribers and our donors and supporters. We do not use any personal contact details such as names and email addresses. This helps us to determine the success of our communications and helps us to better understand behaviours and responses to identify patterns and trends. This helps to inform our approaches towards campaigning, fundraising, and communicating. Understanding our supporters and subscribers also helps us provide a better experience for people who choose to support Scottish Families.

Helpline and Breaking Confidentiality 

Our Helpline service is ran by an Avaya Telephony system. When you call the Helpline, our advisor can see your contact number and similarly, when using our webchat they can see your IP address. Your information is provided to the caller to ensure you are receiving the appropriate support i.e. we are able to refer you to services local to you.

If there is a safeguarding situation, we may break your confidentiality, but only in exceptional circumstances, by providing your IP address or phone number to the appropriate third-party source e.g. Police, Social Work.

Unless you are referred to our local support services or other support, we do not store your phone number or IP address.

Disclosing and sharing data

We will never sell your personal information. All of the information you provide to Scottish Families will remain secure in our systems and will never be shared outside of our organisation – unless there is a safeguarding situation with regards to our national and local family support services, then we will share information with the appropriate third party i.e. Police, Social Work. We will always inform the person that we are doing this.

Bereavement Counsellors

We have a network of bereavement counsellors across Scotland who deliver bereavement support sessions on our behalf. We securely send the personal information you have shared with us (such as contact details and answers you had given to our initial assessment) to your designated counsellor who will have access to this information.


All supporters are asked to ‘opt-in’ for communications from Scottish Families. This includes all of our marketing communications (i.e. news, updates, campaigns, fundraising, and events).

Opt-in means you have the choice of whether you want to receive our communications. You can decide not to receive our communications or change how we contact you at any time.

Marketing means news and information about:

  • Our charity, services, and campaigns,
  • Our role in supporting families across Scotland,
  • Volunteering opportunities,
  • Appeals and fundraising (including donations and fundraising events),
  • Our events,
  • Training courses (whether paid or free), and
  • Taking part in projects and sharing your stories.


As a charity, we rely on donations and support to continue our vital work supporting families across Scotland. We contact supporters on our mailing list with fundraising materials and communications regularly. This might be about an event you can take part in, a donation appeal, or suggesting ways you can raise funds for us.

We use other fundraising platforms such as JustGiving to help support our fundraising. These platforms have their own policies and require you to give consent on whether our charity can contact you after you donate. If you say ‘yes’ to receiving further communication from us, we subscribe you to our mailing list. You can unsubscribe at any time if this is not what you’d prefer.

How we protect data

We have technical measures in place to keep your information safe and to prevent unauthorised access to or use of your personal information.

All data is stored on our secure computer systems, and we control who has access to information using electronic means. Our staff receive data protection and cyber security training yearly and we have data protection policies and procedures which they are required to follow when handling personal data.

Payment Security

All electronic Scottish Families forms that request financial data use the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol to encrypt the data between your browser and our services. We currently use PayPal to take online donations through our website along with JustGiving.

We cannot guarantee the security of your home computer, mobile or internet, so using them to donate to us are at your own risk.


Where we store information

Scottish Families’ operations are based in the UK, and we store our data within the European Union. We use an online CRM system to store all personal information regarding our family support services. This is held securely and only Scottish Families staff members have access to it (access is also protected through two-factor authentication). We also have an off-site backup of our CRM which carry out regular back-ups of the data we store there.

We use Microsoft products across our organisation. As a US company, using their products may result in personal data being transferred to or accessible from the US. This data is still protected as Microsoft is certified under the USA’s Privacy Shield scheme.

How long we store information

We only use and store information for so long as it is required for the purposes it was collected for. How long information will be stored depends on what it is being used for. Our staff members are made aware of our retention periods and will follow them adequately.

We continually review what information we hold and delete what is no longer required. This also includes emails. We never store payment card information from donors.

You are in control of your data

Scottish Families will always ensure you remain in control of your personal data and its usage. Your legal rights include:

  • The right to confirmation as to whether we have your personal information and, if we do, to obtain a copy of the personal information we hold (known as a subject access request),
  • The right to have your data erased (this will not apply if it is necessary for us to continue to use your data for a lawful reason),
  • The right to have inaccurate data rectified,
  • The right to object to your data being used for marketing or profiling.

If you would like further information on your rights or wish to use them, please contact us at


You can complain to Scottish Families directly at If you wish to make a complaint (including a complaint about fundraising activity) which does not directly relate to your data protection and privacy rights, you can contact us at

If you are not happy with our response or believe that your data protection rights have been breached, you can complain to the UK Information Commissioner’s Office which regulates and enforces data protection law in the UK. Details of how to do this can be found at

Cookies and links to other sites


Our website uses cookies to provide you with the best possible experience of our website. Cookies will put small amounts of information on your device. They cannot identify you personally. We use traffic log cookies to see which pages on our site are being used and are most popular. This helps us when we analyse data about web page traffic and improve our website to tailor it to our audience’s needs.

We only use the information collected through traffic log cookies for statistical analysis purposes. We have set up cookies with Google Analytics to accurately estimate the number of visitors to our website and to collect demographic information for research and analysis purposes. We do not use cookies for any other purpose.

Links to other websites

Our website contains hyperlinks to many other websites. We are not responsible for the content or functionality of any of those external websites. But if a link isn’t working on our website or any information is inaccurate, please let us know at

This privacy policy only applies to Scottish Families, so when you go to other websites you should read their own privacy policies.

Changes to this privacy policy

We review our privacy policy every year to make sure it remains up-to-date and accurately reflects how and why we use your personal information. The current version of our privacy policy will always be posted on our website.

This privacy policy was last updated on 10th May 2023.

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