Q&A Abusive father has found me due to a data breach. Can I claim compensation?

Q: I grew up in care because my father abused me. When I reached 18 in 2021, I got a job and moved into a flat. I had not seen my father since I was eleven. Then at the beginning of the summer I got a letter from him. I was shocked. How had he found me? Then I discovered there had been a data breach in the social services department. There has now been two more letters from him. I have not replied to any of them but I am terrified every minute I am in the flat, and every time I go out.

I went to the Police but they’re not interested as there is nothing threatening in the letters and there is no injunction in place against him. But no matter how sorry he is now I cannot forget what happened to me at his hands and I am very angry with the system that was so careless with my data. Can I claim compensation for the distress this is causing me?

A: Due to the personal and confidential nature of the data that was being held about you, the stress and anxiety levels you are experiencing because that data was breached is perfectly understandable.

The first thing to establish, however, before you can take any action against the authorities, is exactly how those responsible for securing your personal information failed to do so. You would do this by complaining to the Data Protection at the social services department. If the answer is not clear it should be referred to the Information Commissioners Office who will make their own enquiries.

Any data breach is considered very serious. If you have become unwell as a result it is important that you consult your GP and obtain treatment. Once the facts of the breach are known, then contact a solicitor who can help you put your case together.

This question has been answered by Robert Williams, a Partner with GHP Legal. 

If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter, book an appointment by visiting GHP Legal or contacting one of our offices:

Wrexham Office

Email: wrexham@ghplegal.com

Phone: 01978 291456

Llangollen Office:

Email: llangollen@ghplegal.com

Phone: 01978 860313

Oswestry Office:

Email: oswestry@ghplegal.com

Phone: 01691 659194

Robert Williams

Robert Williams

Partner and Complaints Handler

Partner and Head of the Civil Litigation, Personal Injury and Dispute Resolution team in Wrexham