VPS Groups Service Terms and Conditions

Effective August 31, 2023

FDSS Employees and volunteers are referred to as “McKenzie Friend/s” “Support Person/s” or “Community Coaches” “VPS Group Facilitators” . Third parties external stakeholders such as Counselors, Mediators or Psychologists or any other professionals.

(FDSS) Family Dispute Support Services. Family Dispute Support Services (referred to as either “the organisation”, “We”, “Us”, “FDSS” or “Our” in this Agreement)

The below agreement agreement applies, when you sign up as a member of the any VPS groups or continuing to be a member any of the VPS Group, you are confirming your understanding and acceptance of the terms of this Agreement and the Confidentiality Agreement for the VPS Groups on this page. 

The use of the VPS group service implies agreement in complying with the following:

What is Virtual Peer Support at FDSS?

  • FDSS VPS – Virtual Peer Support is a supportive and meaningful relationship between a group of people who have a lived experience with Family separation. It emphasises sharing and gaining knowledge between peers, as well developing and enhancing the strategy, skills and mindset needed by an individual navigating the journey through separation, mediation, or the courts – ultimately onto recovery, healthy parenting and successful personal future.
  • Peer support services are self-directed, person-centered, and related to each individual set of circumstances. The peer and peer-support provider are therefore equal partners in planning, developing and monitoring care trying to ensure that the needs and expectations are being reasonably identified and met.
  • Peer Supporters listen intently, validate experiences and share relevant stories and insights gained from their own journey and recovery, but they do not direct the peer’s decisions or path. There should be a group wide understanding that information shared is offered in good faith and taken at face value, so that there is mutual trust, non-judgmental support and ongoing benefit from coping strategies, information and resources offered.

The Goals of VPS groups:

  • To provide a platform and opportunity to be listened to and be guided by others in similar circumstances.
  • To help peers discover and build on coping strategies that work for them in their circumstances
  • To promote a broader sense of community by helping peers identify the systems, resources and people who can support their recovery
  • To help people overcome challenges and discover greater wellness and recovery within the community
  • Peer Supporters are not Mental Health Professionals. They do not counsel, diagnose, provide therapy, or create treatment plans.
  • Peer Supporters are not lawyers and any information they provide should not be construed nor taken as legal advice in any form.
  • Peer Support Facilitators can be available to peers at scheduled appointment times based on the facilitator’s discretion.
  • Peer Supporters and FDSS will provide all peers with crisis resources, or engage the assistance of another available team member, if help is needed when the Peer Supporter is not available.

What to expect from a FDSS VPS supporter

  • To be treated with respect and dignity
  • To have your information kept private and confidential and only relied on or discussed with FDSS management to provide relevant support and guidance.
  • To strive – to the best of the supporter’s ability and availability – to assess circumstances, identify needs and provide FDSS support to achieve progress.
  • A VPS supporter, leader or other peers in the group cannot be relied on to provide forecasts, timelines or predict results.
  • Likewise, a VPS Leader, supporter (or group participant) cannot be reasonably expected to predict, manage or direct the decisions or actions of any third party (such as the other parent, lawyers or family members etc.)
 What FDSS VPS Facilitator expects from you:

  • To treat the group members with courtesy and respect and patience.
  • To not share any of the confidential information disclosed during the sessions.
  • To only share information or give accounts of circumstances in good faith and as accurately as possible. Any attempt to mislead the group to gain support or sympathy will ultimately be of disservice to the individual and the community and undermine the purposes of the group.                                 

FDSS management and the VPS group leader has the responsibility to make judgments about allowing any person to join the VPS groups and reserve the right and discretion to limit, refuse or prohibit anyone from attendance or participation when:

  • There is a perceived danger to the VPS group members or staff, whether a risk to their personal safety or to their emotional and psychological health
  • A peer demonstrates a risk of harm or violence to self or others.
  • A participant cannot sustain a productive relationship with the group members and their conduct is disruptive or counterproductive to the groups purpose and aims.
  • The service is no longer beneficial to the peer.
  • A peer promotes a philosophy, view or bias, or uses language, or exhibits any other behaviour that is discriminatory or harassing on the grounds of race, sexual orientation, creed, sex, gender identity, ethnicity, national origin, immigration status or any other grounds.
  • The attendee has clearly misled the group or misrepresented themselves in any way.
  • There is a need to manage discussions, contributions and engagement by members to maintain/restore the integrity and alignment of the service to the core aims of the FDSS organisation and its obligations to the community it serves.
  • Although every effort will be made to communicate changes to attendees and participants, FDSS management and/or the VPS group leader reserve the right and discretion to cancel the VPS service without notice or to amend any aspect of the service including dates, times, duration and format etc.
  • Registration and/or attendance at any Virtual Peer Support group meetings provided by Family Dispute Support Services constitutes an agreement to these terms and conditions.

Confidentiality Agreement for the VPS Groups

Introduction: This confidentiality agreement (“Agreement”) is entered into by all members of the private online group (“Group”) to ensure the protection of personal information, discussions, and content shared within the VPS Groups.

Purpose: The purpose of this policy is to establish a mutual understanding among Group members regarding the confidentiality and appropriate use of information shared within the VPS Groups.

Confidentiality Obligations:

  • Scope: All information, discussions, resources, documents, stories, and content shared within the Group are considered confidential.
  • Non-Disclosure: Group members shall not disclose, share, or distribute any information or content from the Group to individuals outside the Group without explicit consent from the person(s) who shared the information.
  • Respect for Privacy: Members shall respect the privacy and confidentiality of fellow Group members. Stories, experiences, or discussions shared within the Group shall not be discussed with others outside the Group.

Usage and Sharing:

  • Personal Use: Information or content shared within the Group shall only be used for personal reflection, growth, and support. It shall not be used for commercial purposes, publication, or any other unauthorized sharing.
  • Permission for Sharing: If a member wishes to share content or information from the Group with others, they must obtain explicit consent from the individuals involved before sharing.

Boundaries:

  • Venting and Retraumatisation: The Group is a space for self-care, growth, and positive support. It is not intended as a platform for venting, retraumatizing, or negative discussions.
  • Future Focus: Discussions within the Group should be focused on moving forward, personal growth, and positive outcomes. Dwelling on past negativity or conflicts is discouraged.

Enforcement and Dispute Resolution:

  • Violation Reporting: If a Group member believes there has been a violation of this Agreement, they should report it to the Group facilitator (“Facilitator”). If you are unsatified with the Facilitator decision, you are able to raise this issue further with FDSS management by filing a complaint to this email address admin@fdss.org.nz
  • Facilitator’s Role: The Facilitator will address reported violations and take appropriate action, which may include reminding members of the Agreement’s terms or, in severe cases, removal from the Group.
  • Acknowledgment: By participating in the Group and accessing its content, each member acknowledges and agrees to abide by the terms of this Agreement.
  • Duration: This Agreement remains in effect for the duration of a member’s participation in the Group and extends beyond their participation in order to protect the confidentiality of information shared within the VPS Group.

Interruption Policy for Online Group Meetings

Purpose: This policy aims to establish guidelines for maintaining a respectful and productive atmosphere during our online group meetings. Interruptions can disrupt the flow of discussions and hinder effective communication. We encourage all participants to follow these guidelines to ensure a positive meeting experience for everyone.

  • Mute Your Microphone: When you’re not speaking, please keep your microphone muted. Background noise can be distracting and disrupt the speaker. You can unmute when it’s your turn to speak or when you’re asked to contribute.
  • Raise Your Hand: If you wish to speak or have a question, use the virtual “Raise Hand” feature provided by the meeting platform (e.g., Zoom, Teams). The facilitator will acknowledge you in turn to minimize interruptions.
  • Use Chat for Quick Questions: If you have a brief comment or question that doesn’t require immediate attention, you can use the chat feature to type your message. The facilitator or presenter can address it at an appropriate time.
  • Respect Speaking Turns: Allow the current speaker to finish their thoughts before speaking. Interruptions can be disruptive and may lead to misunderstandings.
  • Stay on Topic: Keep your contributions relevant to the meeting’s agenda. Straying off-topic can lead to confusion and extended meeting durations.
  • Limit Side Conversations: Avoid side conversations during the meeting. Use private chats or separate discussions if necessary to avoid disrupting the main conversation.
  • Be Mindful of Time: Keep your contributions concise and to the point. This helps ensure that everyone has an opportunity to speak.
  • Dispute Resolution: If any disputes or disagreements arise during the meeting, the facilitator will address them. Please remain respectful and open to diverse viewpoints.
  • Respect Facilitator Guidance: Follow any additional guidelines or instructions provided by the meeting facilitator. Their role is to ensure the meeting runs smoothly.
  • Consequences for Repeated Interruptions: Participants who repeatedly interrupt the meeting may be temporarily muted or asked to leave the meeting if their behavior significantly disrupts the proceedings.
  • Thank you for your cooperation and understanding. Our goal is to create a respectful and productive environment for all participants during our online group meetings.
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