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Police wrongly disclose information about a victim of domestic abuse

The Greater Manchester Police agreed to pay damages to a victim of domestic abuse whose private information had been wrongly disclosed by police officers.

The woman, AB had suffered domestic abuse by a former partner.  She agreed to allow the police to use the facts of her case for a training exercise, for the purpose of improving understanding among officers and to support agencies tasked with helping victims of domestic abuse.  AB understood that this information would be anonymised.

However, AB’s personal information was disclosed by police in an unanonymised form and to a wider audience.  She made a complaint to the police which was not properly dealt with.  She then issued a claim for misuse of private information and breach of the Data Protection Act 1998.  She suffered psychiatric injury and claimed for personal injury.  Aggravated damages were also claimed given the manner in which the police handled the complaint.

A few days before the trial, the police agreed to apologise for the disclosure and to pay AB the sum of £75,000 in damages.  The settlement also included undertakings regarding compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and treatment of AB’s information in future. 

Read Inforrm article here.

Private Information & Data Protection