Probation officer in the UK prosecuted for leaking victim’s detail

August 16, 2013 |

The UK Information Commissioner has prosecuted a probation officer who revealed a domestic abuse victim’s new address to the alleged perpetrator.

The ICO’s media release is found here and provides:

A probation officer who revealed a domestic abuse victim’s new address to the alleged perpetrator has been fined £150 following a prosecution bought by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Victoria Idowu claimed that she provided the victim’s full name, new address and date of birth, along with the details of the investigating officer, as she believed that the individual already knew this information and she was keen to avoid a case of mistaken identity.

The victim subsequently contacted the investigating officer on 6 January 2013 – the day the information was illegally provided – in a distressed state confirming that the perpetrator was now aware of their new address. The victim broke off all contact with the police and the other services involved, believing that they could no longer be trusted. The investigation against the alleged perpetrator was subsequently dropped.

Appearing at Camberwell Green Magistrates Court today, 39-year-old Victoria Idowu was prosecuted under section 55 of the Data Protection Act and fined £150 and ordered to pay a £20 victim surcharge and a £250 contribution towards costs.

Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, said:

“This is the unpleasant but unremarkable face of data protection crime – not journalists, not lawyers, just individuals for whom the current sentencing regime holds no terror.

“Ms Idowu escaped with only a relatively minor penalty and no criminal record. The government must act now to introduce tougher penalties for individuals who illegally access and disclose personal information.

“This is not just a criminal breach of the Data Protection Act, but it also led to a police investigation of alleged domestic abuse being dropped.”

Unlawfully obtaining or accessing personal data is a criminal offence under section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998. The offence is punishable by way of ‘fine only’ – up to £5,000 in a Magistrates Court or an unlimited fine in a Crown Court. The ICO continues to call for more effective deterrent sentences, including the threat of prison, to be available to the courts to stop the unlawful use of personal information.

Ms Idowu, who had worked at the trust since October 2005, has already been the subject of disciplinary proceedings by London Probation Trust, which resulted in her employment being terminated due to gross misconduct.

One Response to “Probation officer in the UK prosecuted for leaking victim’s detail”

  1. It is me

    To Dear Peter,

    Very good blog entries of late, causing many discussions. Last night we argued the removal via selected filter, of sections of the Bible and that having the capacity to then lead into the various religious organisations also having their web places filtered. Many raised voices 🙂

    Last night brought a question – I figure that my answer was the correct one, however the subject raiser assures me that he is of course correct – could I ask for your knowledge to settle this dispute ?
    Okay a person happens to notice a drone flying above his/her property – is that said person able to bring the drone down, out of the sky – using their own means ? Or does that drone belong to the owner of that drone – could the person bringing the drone down get into trouble.

    Hope that your weekend is a good one

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