Privacy Policy

Welcome to the website of the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance. Your privacy is one of our top priorities. This policy informs you of the information that we collect from you at this site, what we do with it, to whom it may be disseminated, and how you can access it. Based on this information, you can make an informed decision about your use of this site. You can maximize the benefits of your privacy partnership with the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA) by making informed decisions about whether to share personally identifiable information with us through this site.

Limited Scope of this Policy

The privacy policy which follows applies only to the use of this website. As you navigate this website, you will see links that, when clicked, will take you to other websites operated by other state agencies. These websites have individual privacy policies tailored to the interactions available through that site. You may also see links that will take you to websites external to Massachusetts state government. We strongly suggest that you read the privacy policies for each Commonwealth website that you visit and any external site that you visit through any link appearing at this site. 

A Privacy Partnership

Your privacy with respect to the use of MOVA’s website results from a partnership between the Commonwealth and you, the user. At this website, we attempt to protect your privacy to the maximum extent possible, subject to the Public Records Law.

Public Records Law

MOVA is a public agency and records received by a public agency are presumed to be public records by state law, M.G.L. c. 66, s. 10. Therefore, you should know that when you send and we receive information through this website, these records may be subject to disclosure to the public under the Public Records Law.

Personally Identifiable Information

We use the term “personally identifiable information” to mean any information that could reasonably be used to identify you, including your name, address, telephone number, email address, Social Security number, birth date, bank account information, credit card information, or any combination of information that could be used to identify you.

Information Voluntarily Provided by You

This site may collect voluntary information from you through electronic forms, surveys, and emails.

Surveys and Email

This site collects voluntary information from you through surveys that may be posted at this website and through any email messages you choose to send to MOVA. Surveys may collect personally identifiable information you voluntarily submit, such as name, email address or phone number, so that we may contact you for follow up to your question, concern or recommendation. Any email messages sent by you to this site will contain personally identifiable information such as your email address and any other information you choose to give us to help us answer your inquiry.

Information Automatically Collected and Stored by this Site

This website does not use permanent “cookies.” However, the site uses temporary “session cookies” to allow visitors to interact with the site and to use online applications. “Session cookies” do not allow us to personally identify a visitor. These cookies are stored only in memory and are deleted when the user’s browser is shut down. This site does collect and store your “Internet Protocol (IP) address” (which does not identify you as an individual) indefinitely, as well as information about the date and time of your visit, whether a file you have requested exists, and how many “bytes” of information were transmitted to you over the Web from this site. We use your IP address to assess the frequency of visits to this site and the popularity of its various pages and functions. We will not attempt to match any personally identifiable information that you provide to us with your 
IP address, unless there are reasonable grounds to believe that doing so would provide information that is relevant and material to a criminal investigation or to a matter of public safety or security. 

Dissemination of Your Personally Identifiable Information

We do not sell any personally identifiable information collected through this website or submitted to the Commonwealth in conjunction with using functions on the website, and there is no direct or online public access to the information. However, once you voluntarily submit personally identifiable information to us related to your use of this website or the Mass.Gov. portal, its dissemination is governed by the Public Records Law (M.G.L. c. 66, s. 10), the Fair Information Practices Act (M.G.L. c. 66A), and other applicable laws and regulations. For this reason, part or all of the information you send us may be provided to a member of the public in response to a public records request. 

There are pieces of information, such as credit card numbers, TIN, username, or password that are not considered public for the purposes of a public records request. For more information on types of data exempted from disclosure under the Public Records Law, please read the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s web pages on the Public Records Law. 

In addition, the information that you voluntarily submit will be disclosed only to MOVA and other Commonwealth employees or officials, or those under contract with the Commonwealth, with a “need to know” for purposes of fulfilling their job responsibilities. The information will be used for such purposes as: answering your questions, responding to any  requests for assistance, generating summary statistics about usage, auditing applications and detecting fraud, aiding in the planning, design and development of the MOVA website, the Mass.Gov portal, and fulfilling the Commonwealth’s legal obligations. 

We will collect and aggregate the information you provide through surveys for purposes of market research to improve this website and the Mass.Gov portal by making it more responsive to customer needs. Where appropriate, we may provide the information submitted by you through an email to the person or company that is the subject of your inquiry, or to a government agency responsible for the matters referred to in your
communication.

Your Access and Opportunity to Correct

The Public Records Law and the Fair Information Practices Act provide you certain rights to get information about yourself that is in our records. To learn more about the circumstances under which you

Security

Because email sent to the Commonwealth is not encrypted, you should not send messages containing information that you consider highly sensitive to this website. We use standard security measures to ensure that information provided by you, including your personally identifiable information, is not lost, misused, altered, or unintentionally destroyed. We also use software to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. Except for authorized law enforcement investigations, no attempts are made to identify individual users or their usage habits.

Policy Changes

We will post substantive changes to this policy at least 30 days before they take effect. Any information we collect under the current privacy policy will remain subject to the terms of this policy. After any changes take effect, all new information we collect, if any, will be subject to the new policy.

Contact Information

For questions about your privacy while using MOVA’s website, please contact Jennifer Grigoraitis, Chief of Staff, at jennifer.grigoraitis@state.ma.us.

Definitions

Cookies are files that a website can place on your computer. A cookie file contains unique information that a website can use to track such things as your password, lists of Web pages you have visited, and the date when you last looked at a specific Web page, or to identify your session at a particular website. A cookie file allows the website to recognize you as you click through pages on the site and when you later revisit the site. A website can use cookies to “remember” your preferences, and to record your browsing behavior on the Web. Although you can prevent websites from placing cookies on your computer by using your browser’s
preference menu, disabling cookies may affect your ability to view or interact with some websites.

An “Internet Protocol Address” or “IP Address” is a series of numbers that identifies each computer and machine connected to the Internet. An IP address enables a server on a computer network to send you the file that you have requested on the Internet. The IP address disclosed to us may identify the computer from which you are accessing the Internet, or a server owned by your Internet Service Provider. Because it is machine-specific, rather than person-specific, an IP address is not, in and of itself, personally identifiable information.