CEL Solicitors recently acted for a domestic abuse victim who suffered a serious data breach after her building society disclosed details of her address to an abusive ex-partner. The family, who must remain anonymous for their own safety, was left terrified after the building society failed to protect her data.
The unnamed woman and her child were forced to flee a property following domestic violence, informed their mortgage provider that they no longer resided at the property. As such, they were no longer able to abide by the terms of the agreement and sought to be released from the mortgage.
Due to the severity of the abuse, which required the involvement of police, social services, domestic abuse services as well as a court-ordered restraining order, the woman repeatedly stressed the importance of protecting her new address so as not to jeopardise the family’s safety.
They were subsequently assured that their records had been updated and the confidential nature of their data had been noted. However, when the bank issued repossession proceedings on the house, they sent correspondence to the other party, which included her new address.
As a result, the family no longer felt safe in their home, so much so they stayed with friends immediately after the data breach. The police subsequently installed a panic alarm in the house, linked to the local police station, as well as issuing a personal panic alarm, for outside the house, due to the serious risk the ex-partner posed.
Living in constant fear, the family paid for new alarms on every window in the house, additional locks to all the doors in the property and new fencing around the perimeter of the home. They were also exploring CCTV options when they decided to get in touch with CEL Solicitors, experts in data breach compensation.
Speaking anonymously about the data breach, the woman said: “After finally finding refuge from an abusive ex-partner our world was turned upside down when our address was revealed to them. I’m now back to living in fear and struggle to sleep, which has affected both my home and work life. Worse still, my child is afraid and hides every time there is a knock at the door.”
“Having seemingly moved forward we’re now back in touch with the police, social services, domestic abuse services and a family support agency due to the danger we now face. It’s, for this reason, we sought extra security and why we felt it was important to take action to highlight the importance of data protection and to try and ensure that no one else has to go through what we’ve been through.”
CEL Solicitors, which specialises in data breach claims, sought to recover data breach compensation from the building society for the family. They were successful in securing £16,000 for data breach compensation for the distress caused and £972.07 for special damages to go towards the cost of home security.
David Whelan, a trainee solicitor, specialising in data breach claims at CEL Solicitors, said: “Data breaches can have far-reaching consequences for victims whose personal information is negligently compromised. In this case, the data breach posed a serious threat to our client’s safety, and that of their child, which is heartbreaking.”
“It had a profound effect on our clients and whilst no amount of compensation can undo the psychological damage caused it will help to pay for enhanced home security. It’s also our hope, and the family’s hope, that lessons will be learnt so that other people, especially vulnerable people’s, data will be kept safe.”