Mum-of-three wins legal data breach fight against Hampshire County Council after school in Havant gives ex-partner her address

A MOTHER who fled her home due to domestic violence was harassed by an ex - after he got her address from an infant school.

Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 10:28 am
The woman took Hampshire County Council to court over a data breach and won her case this month. Picture: Habibur Rahman

The mum-of-three, who wishes to be anonymous, was relocated from a refuge to Leigh Park in 2016, and enrolled her children at a nearby school.

But after the school disclosed to her ex-partner that the children were there, he entered the premises and then obtained the 49-year-old’s address from inside, a court ruled.

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Weeks of harassment followed, with him loitering outside her home, she said.

Following a court case this month, the mother has been awarded £10,000 compensation from Hampshire County Council for a breach of the Data Protection Act 1998.

‘I don't trust anybody, not any more,’ she said.

‘I feel paranoid, anxious and above all let down by a system that is meant to protect me and my children.

‘My kids were in child protection and the school knew that - but not only was this was still allowed to happen, but the authorities denied it at every single turn.’

Since the incident, she and her children have moved house again.

According to Your Lawyers, which represented the woman, the school initially apologised for what happened, but later denied this had ever happened.

She said: ‘As soon as I realised he had my address, I phoned the police.

'He would linger outside, get deliveries sent to my house in the middle of the night. It was a living nightmare.'

Aman Johal, director of Your Lawyers, said: 'This incident is an example of the severity of mismanaging sensitive information, and the case demonstrates the genuine impact on real, vulnerable people when their right to privacy is breached.

‘It is common for schools to be privy to sensitive information in cases pertaining to shared parental responsibility and in which social services are involved. In fact, schools know to go above and beyond to prevent any safeguarding issues that could arise, particularly in cases where domestic problems are known.

‘It is surprising and disappointing that the school allowed this data breach to occur, and so easily.

‘The impact on my client has understandably been significant, and we are relieved that we have been able to obtain some form of legal justice for her.’

Mr Johal added that local authority breaches like this are one of the most common types of cases.

Hampshire County Council says it has changed school policies since the incident took place.

A spokesperson from the county council said: ‘This case was rigorously defended in court. However, the judge found in favour of the claimant.

‘We respect that decision and can confirm that, in accordance with the judgement, damages have been paid to the claimant.

‘The incident occurred in 2016 and did not result in a policy review. The school GDPR policy was updated in 2020 and the former policy was therefore superseded.’