Tips for running virtual support groups safely

  1. Be mindful of where you advertise and share video call details. Remember, some group calls may also require a risk assessment, depending on the purpose of the group. 
  2. Confidentiality is key – consider your location, who else is around, and use headphones if you need to. 
  3. It is recommended that where possible you should use the waiting room feature and try to limit who can admit people to the meeting. If you don’t recognise someone, make sure you verify whether they should be there. 
  4. We would recommend two facilitators when possible. 
  5. Introduce the video call/group rules at the start of a session, such as not talking over one another and using the ‘raised hand’ function or literally raising a hand (if on video).
  6. Depending on the meeting you may want to consider rules around specific behaviours, such as turning the camera off if you're smoking or drinking. 
  7. Encourage participants to be mindful of what's in the background, such as anything that could identify them. 
  8. Refer to your own organisation's policies and procedures regarding recording calls. 
  9. If someone is substance affected, have a private chat or send a private message. Suggest they take some time and come back next time. 
  10. When it comes to managing difficult situations online, context is everything – make ethical decisions based on individual circumstances. 
  11. Keep up to date with your organisation's policies around video calling.