A child custody data breach can involve the most sensitive information being leaked at the worst possible time. As a parent or legal guardian trying to navigate the process of divorce or custody, it’s essential that personal data stays secure and confidential. What can you do if this does not happen and you suffer a personal data breach?
In this article, we explain what information social services and the law courts may process in regards to the custody case. We also look at how data controllers, those who process your personal data, must adhere to the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR). Should they fail in some way, we discuss what evidence you need to launch a personal data breach compensation claim.
This may be an understandably difficult time. The stress and aggravation of a data breach can only add to the pressure you may be feeling in the middle of a custody battle. If you feel more comfortable speaking to our advisors in person, please get in touch for a free, no-obligation assessment to start your claim by:
- Calling our team on 0800 073 8801
- Going online to contact us
- Using the ‘live support’ option for immediate free help
Select A Section
- What Is A Breach Of Child Custody Data?
- Child Custody Data Breach Examples
- Time Limits To File A Child Custody Data Breach Claim
- How To Claim For A Child Custody Data Breach
- Child Custody Data Breach Compensation Calculator
- Get Help With Your Data Breach Case
Before we specifically discuss a child custody data breach, it can be useful to understand what personal data is. Also, how data controllers and processors must adhere to laws regarding it.
The Data Protection Act 2018 and UK GDPR identify certain core principles when it comes to handling personal information. This covers data that can range from the most basic name and address to the most sensitive details regarding minors.
All personal data should be processed in a way that fulfils one of the 6 lawful basis for data processing. It should be collected in a fair and obvious way with a specific and limited purpose. The amount of data collected should be kept to a necessary minimum, it must be retained for a fixed period during which it must be accurate and kept secure.
When the data is no longer needed, it should be destroyed in the correct way with all staff and involved parties showing personal responsibility at all stages.
Personal data breaches are security issues that can mean your personal or personally sensitive data has been:
- Accessed without authority or a lawful basis
- Unlawful destruction
- Verbal or written disclosure of processed data
- Loss of availability of personal data relating to you or your child’s custody proceedings.
Data protection rights are enforced by an independent organisation called the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). They have the authority to investigate and issue fines to any third party that breaches these data laws.
Because of this, staff must be fully aware of UK GDPR at every stage of a custody hearing and apply good data protection principles as human error can be the leading cause of data breaches.
Data Security Statistics Reported To The ICO
The statistics below come from the Data Security Trends recorded by the ICO. They show reported security incidents by sector. A child custody data breach could happen in different sectors such as local government, social care, legal, justice, or even education and childcare:
With this in mind, how might a child custody data breach happen? Custody records may be retained in both digital and hardcopy formats. This means that different protocols may be needed to protect the data stored in these ways. All personal data and special category data that is processed whether digitally or physically must be kept secure. If not the following scenarios could happen:
- Your solicitor could send paperwork containing personal information to your partner rather than yourself.
- Admin staff send emails or faxes containing your financial information to the wrong recipient.
- A solicitor data breach can occur if a USB containing your files is left on a train.
- Lost or stolen laptops or smartphones containing information can cause a security incident
- Poor IT defences at a social services office may make it easier for an external cyberattack
Importantly, there are time limits to commencing a child custody data breach claim. Ordinarily, there is a 6-year period in which to initiate a claim. However, this reduces to 1-year if claiming against a public body. Speak to our team for detailed advice about the timescale.
A personal data breach claim could be successful on the grounds that you can prove that those who should have been protecting any personal or personally sensitive data failed to take the necessary steps to do this. Evidence will be needed to show how the data controller failed in its responsibility to comply with data security laws. As well as this it is important to identify how you suffered or how your child suffered due to the personal data breach.
You can raise an official complaint with the organisation you think is responsible for allowing the data breach to occur. If you fail to have a meaningful or satisfactory response no later than three months after the last contact on the matter, you can complain to the ICO direct.
The ICO does not pay compensation. So you may also consider engaging legal representation at this point to help you piece your child custody data breach claim together.
Acting As A Litigation Friend
Litigation friends are concerned adults who can act on the behalf of a child or someone who lacks the mental capacity to represent themselves in a court case. It can be a family member, a guardian, or even a solicitor. Their role is to act in the child’s best interests throughout the case.
A case called Vidal-Hall v Google Inc heard in the Court of Appeal established that mental suffering may be a significant part of a data breach experience. Furthermore, it can occur with or without financial damage. Because of this, it is now possible to use the Judicial College Guidelines in the same way as personal injury claims. The guidelines list psychiatric harm and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as shown:
|Level of Psychiatric or Psychological Harm||JC Guideline Award Bracket and Severity Involved||Details|
|General Psychiatric Damage||£54,830 to £115,730 - (a) Severe level||Broad-ranging and disabling impact on all areas of life|
|General Psychiatric Damage||£19,070 to £54,830 - (b) Moderately Severe Level||A better prognosis than the bracket above|
|General Psychiatric Damage||£5,860 to £19,070 - (c) Moderate Level||Impacts that ease considerably by the time the case may be heard|
|General Psychiatric Damage||£1,540 to £5,860 - (d) Less Severe Level||Reflective of length of disability and sleep problems|
|PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder)||£59,860 to £100,670 - (a) Severe Level||An acute level of mental injury resulting in permanently disabling issues|
|PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder)||£23,150 to £59,860 - (b) Moderately Severe Level||More favourable than the category above after professional intervention|
|PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder)||£8,180 to £23,150 - (c) Moderate Level||Overall a recovery with remaining effects being minimal|
|PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder)||£3,950 to £8,180 - (d) Less Severe Level||A recovery that takes place within a 1 - 2 year period|
These amounts are not guaranteed. Referred to as non-material damages, they aim to address the pain, suffering, and loss of amenity inflicted on you because of the data breach.
In addition to recompense for psychiatric harm caused, it can be possible to seek back financial costs forced upon you because of the data breach. What financial damage may result from the accidental or deliberate leaking of personal information that relates to you or the child in question?
- Loss of earnings
- Stolen funds from your bank account and credit card fraud
- Counselling costs to deal with the stress
With the correct documented proof you could include these out-of-pocket expenses as part of your overall compensation calculations. Speak to our advisors to see what other eligible amounts may apply.
In conclusion, if you are considering legal representation in your data breach claim, a No Win No Fee agreement could help. At Accident Claims, we can connect you to data breach solicitors. There are obvious benefits. Such as:
- No Win No Fee agreements require no upfront fees
- Or any fees as the claim develops
- Nothing due to the solicitors if the case fails
- Only a maximum 25% deduction is due from the compensation amount if your claim wins.
Get in touch with our team to see how a No Win No Fee approach to your child custody data breach could help:
Child Compensation Claims
In addition to guidance on child custody data breach claims, you could read the resources linked below for more advice:
- Read our guide on compensation if your child was involved in a car accident
- More details on a data breach at a nursery
- Read more tips on cyber security
- How to stay safe online
- Advice from Childline about the internet and children
Guide by JW
Edited by MM.