Can I withhold information to protect someone’s safety?

If an individual has asked for their own information, the starting point is that the individual is entitled to that information.

However, there are a number of withholding grounds which permit an agency to withhold personal information in certain limited circumstances.

One of the grounds which allow you to withhold information is where you believe the release of the information is likely to endanger the safety of any individual (this could be safety of the individual who requested the information, or of any other person).

However, this ground only applies if you have reasonable grounds to be concerned about the physical safety of any person – you can’t rely on it if you’re only concerned about someone’s emotional wellbeing.

If you’re concerned about the effect that providing information to an individual may have on that individual’s mental health or health generally, there is another exception you might need to consider - see more here.