Breach Of Sexual Abuse Data – Could I Make A Compensation Claim?

Sexual abuse data breach claims guide

Breach of sexual abuse data claims guide 

This guide will provide advice on the steps you could take following a breach of sexual abuse data. If your personal data is breached due to an organisation’s failure to comply with data protection laws, it could cause you to suffer from mental health injuries and financial losses. Therefore, you could be eligible to claim compensation. 

The Crown Prosecution Service describes sexual offences as covering a range of crimes, such as rape, sexual assault and crimes against children. Historic sexual abuse is sexual abuse that an adult suffered in the past, during their childhood.

There are various organisations that may need to hold personal data relating to sexual offences that you were a victim of. These parties must comply with data protection laws.

Please call our team to enquire about making a claim for the harm caused by a personal data breach. Our team of advisors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide free legal advice. If they believe you are eligible to make a data breach claim, they could put you in contact with one of our expert data breach solicitors.

Speak to us today:

  • Call our advice line on 0800 073 8801
  • Contact us via our website
  • Use the live support feature below to speak to an advisor

Select A Section

  1. What Is A Breach Of Sexual Abuse Data?
  2. Does Special Category Data Protect Health Records?
  3. How Do Data Breaches Affect Individuals?
  4. Who Are Data Breaches Reported To?
  5. Average Settlements For A Breach Of Sexual Abuse Data
  6. What Does A No Win No Fee Agreement Involve?

What Is A Breach Of Sexual Abuse Data?

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is an organisation responsible for upholding information rights in the UK. They broadly define a personal data breach as a security incident affecting the integrity, confidentiality, or availability of personal data. This could occur due to human error or as the result of someone acting maliciously.

Therefore, a breach of sexual abuse data happens when an organisation fails to protect personal data regarding sexual abuse. The breach of this kind of personal information could cause you severe psychological damage.

Sensitive personal data is personal data that needs more protection based on its nature. This includes personal data relating to sexual abuse that has been experienced.

Under the two central pieces of data protection legislation, the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018, organisations are responsible for protecting both physically and digitally stored personal data that they process and store. Additionally, the UK GDPR provides a way for victims suffering after a data breach to claim compensation.

If a data controller or processor fails to protect personal data and causes a breach, the organisation may be liable for any psychiatric injuries or financial losses the data breach victims endure. A data controller decides how and why personal data is processed, and a processor processes data on its behalf.

Does Special Category Data Protect Health Records?

If a medical data breach occurs, your personal health data could be compromised. This could include information regarding physical injuries or psychological illness a victim of sexual abuse experienced. For example, an HIV data breach could reveal your HIV status after being the victim of sexual abuse. The same could apply to injuries sustained as a result of domestic abuse, for instance.

Under Article 9 of the UK GDPR, data concerning a person’s health is considered special category data, deserving of extra protection because of its sensitive nature. Therefore, processing special category data is prohibited unless one of the conditions outlined in the UK GDPR applies; for example, the data subject gives explicit consent or the processing is in the interest of public health where there is a basis in law.

However, even if the personal data that is involved in a breach does not contain information on the injuries you experienced, it could still be considered special category data. To see if you could be entitled to claim compensation for the harm you experienced as the result of a breach, speak with an advisor today.

How Do Data Breaches Affect Individuals?

Let’s look at how data breaches could affect individuals. The UK GDPR defines personal data as information which can be used to identify a person. It’s classed as personal data whether the information can identify you alone or needs to be combined with other information to do so.

If an organisation is responsible for a breach of sexual abuse data, revealing personal data about you and exposing your personal data (such as your address), this could place you in danger.

Moreover, a victim of a personal data breach may not know who has access to their personal data or how it is being used. Consequently, the victim may experience emotional distress and psychological injuries, such as anxiety or depression.

Financial Losses After A Breach Of Sexual Abuse Data

If a personal data breach occurs, you could suffer financial losses as a result. For example, a criminal could use your personal data to commit identity fraud and steal money from your bank account.

Furthermore, you could feel unsafe in your home and need to move house, the process of which could be costly.

Our advisors are experienced in handling claims concerning sensitive personal data, such as where a breach of sexual abuse data has occurred; contact us today to discuss your claim.

Who Are Data Breaches Reported To?

Firstly, if you believe that a breach of your personal data has occurred, please contact the data controller. You should also correspond with the organisation if you have been made aware of a data breach concerning your personal data due to an organisation contacting you.

If an organisation becomes aware that a data breach has occurred that poses a risk to your rights and freedom, they should contact you without undue delay and alert the ICO within 72 hours.

If you do not receive a response or are unsatisfied with the response you receive, you could then complain to the ICO. To report a data breach to the ICO is not a necessity to make a claim, however, their findings could prove useful evidence.

At the same time, we recommend seeking legal advice to find out what you could be eligible to receive in compensation. If an organisation fails to adhere to data protection laws leading to a breach of sexual abuse data and caused you damage, please contact us today to see if you are eligible for compensation.

When Can You Claim For A Breach Of Sexual Abuse Data?

You may be eligible to claim for a breach of sexual abuse data under the following circumstances:

  1. The organisation that was responsible for protecting your data failed to comply with legislation, leading to a data breach.
  2. This breach involved your personal data.
  3. You experienced psychiatric injuries and/or financial losses because of the data breach.

Average Settlements For A Breach Of Sexual Abuse Data

Two potential heads of personal data breach claims are material damage and non-material damage.

Firstly, material damage compensates for financial losses incurred due to the breach. This could include money being taken from your bank accounts or damage to your credit score. It is important that you are able to provide evidence of any material damage; this could include bank statements or proof of your credit history.

Secondly, non-material damage compensates for the psychological injuries you experienced due to the personal data breach.

The way compensation is claimed for a personal data breach was changed following the Vidal-Hall and Others v Google Inc [2015] court of appeal case. Before the case, you could not bring forward a claim for non-material damage if you were not also claiming for material damage. However, after this case, you can now claim for non-material damage whether or not you are making a claim for material damage.  

The data breach compensation table below can be used as a guide to non-material damage compensation amounts. We used the 16th edition Judicial College guidelines (JCG), updated in April 2022, as a guide for the amounts in the table. Data breach solicitors use the JCG as a guide to assist them in valuing payouts.

Mental Injury Notes On The Injury Compensation Brackets
Psychiatric Injury – Severe (a) There will be marked problems with the injured person’s ability to cope with life. The prognosis for recovery is very poor. £54,830 to £115,730
Psychiatric Injury – Moderately Severe (b) The injured person has been left with significant problems coping with life, though they have a more optimistic prognosis that the bracket above. £19,070 to £54,830
Psychiatric Injury – Moderate (c) Whilst the person could have some similar problems coping with life, they should have markedly improved by the time of a claim or trial. £5,860 to £19,070
Psychiatric Injury – Less Severe (d) At this level, the compensation award will consider how long the person was impacted by the disability and to what extent. £1,540 to £5,860
Anxiety Disorder – Severe (a) An injury which causes permanent effects upon the person and may prevent them from working. £59,860 to £100,670
Anxiety Disorder – Moderately Severe (b) The person has a better prognosis for some improvement if the person receives professional assistance. £23,150 to £59,860
Anxiety Disorder – Moderate (c) The person could have made a significant recovery and any lingering effects will not be grossly disabling. £8,180 to £23,150
Anxiety Disorder – Less Severe (d) Very close to a full recovery will be made between 1 and 2 years. £3,950 to £8,180

The figures in the table are advisory. To discuss your claim for a breach of sexual abuse data, please call us today.

What Does A No Win No Fee Agreement Involve?

A Conditional Fee Agreement is a type of No Win No Fee agreement which usually incurs no immediate or ongoing costs for a solicitor’s services. It also means there is generally no payment to be made for the services your solicitor provides if your claim is unsuccessful.

On the other hand, if your claim is successful, your solicitor will take a small percentage of the compensation. The law caps the success fee that can be taken. Therefore, a No Win No Fee solicitor cannot overcharge you.

Start Your Claim Now

Please contact our advisors for an assessment of your case. If our team finds that your case could be eligible, they could place you in contact with one of our No Win No Fee data breach solicitors.

To see if you can claim compensation for a breach of sexual abuse data, please contact us:

  • Call our advice line on 0800 073 8801
  • Contact us via our website
  • Or use the live support feature below to speak to an advisor

Related Data Breach Questions

You may find these guides from our website helpful in learning more about data breaches:

What Are My Rights After A School Data Breach?

Rights After A Social Services Data Breach

What Are My Rights After An NHS Data Breach?

Explore these external sources for more information:

NSPCC – Non-recent abuse

GOV – Support for victims of sexual violence and abuse

Victim Support – Sexual abuse information

Thank you for reading our guide to claiming compensation for a breach of sexual abuse data.

Guide by HC/JO

Published by FS