Victim awarded £75,000 after police disclose her details without consent

Victim awarded £75,000 after police disclose her details without consent

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A woman received a £75,000 settlement after Greater Manchester Police disclosed her personal information without her consent.

In 2014 the woman agreed that details of the domestic abuse she suffered from a former partner could be used in training sessions for officers and support agencies on the basis that her information would be anonymous.

It was later discovered, however, that her identity and medical history was disclosed in full. This was also disclosed to a wider audience. A recording of a 999 call was played as well, where she had called for help after an assault.

The woman believed she was allowing the force to use details of her case in order to help police and other agencies improve how they deal with victims of domestic violence. Upon finding out her personal information had been disclosed, she suffered psychiatric harm due to personal and private information being made public.

Efforts to delay

The distress the woman felt was only increased by Greater Manchester Police’s reported efforts to delay the case and damage payments.

The force asked to carry out an internal investigation and therefore postponed the civil action that was being brought because of the misuse of private information, the breach of confidential information, and non-compliance with the Data Protection Act.

Five months later the investigation concluded that no officer had breached the police code of conduct.

In May, Greater Manchester Police admitted to breaching the woman’s privacy, but then refused to admit she had suffered loss or distress because of this, meaning she was not entitled to damages.

Court settlement

However, an out of court agreement was reached of £75,000 before the court hearing. The settlement was made two years after the claim was launched. It is believed to be one of the biggest ever awarded payments by the British police force.

The Greater Manchester Police released a statement saying:

“We have apologised to the woman involved and assured her that steps have been taken to ensure that this could not happen in the future. It was quite right that we adequately compensated the woman concerned for the mistakes that were made and the effect they had on her.”

They went on to say how they have undertaken extensive work in encouraging domestic abuse victims to come forward, and that what happened was an unacceptable mistake and was an exceptional case.

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