Foster care data breach claims refer to legal actions taken against agencies responsible for the welfare and protection of children in foster care when their personal information is mishandled, lost, or stolen. These breaches can cause significant harm to the children involved, leading to identity theft, emotional distress, and a loss of privacy. Foster care data breaches can occur in a variety of ways, from accidental disclosures to deliberate theft or hacking, and can be caused by both individuals and organisations.
If wrongful action from a data controller has resulted in your personal data being exposed, and you’ve been harmed by it, you may be eligible to claim compensation. However, navigating the legal process can be complicated and overwhelming, so this guide has been created to help you understand your rights and options.
In this guide, we will define what constitutes a foster care data breach in more detail and explain who may be eligible to make a claim. Furthermore, we outline the types of compensation that may be available. We will also provide guidance on how to begin a claim and what to expect from the process.
Our panel of experienced data breach solicitors is here to help eligible claimants pursue justice and seek the compensation they deserve. If you believe you may be eligible to make a foster care data breach claim, please call one of our advisors for a free case check and to begin your No Win No Fee claim.
Can I Claim For A Foster Care Data Breach?
Organisations involved in foster care in the UK are expected to abide by a range of regulations and standards to protect the children in their care, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018. These laws outline clear requirements for the collection, storage, and use of personal information, and mandate that organisations take steps to prevent unauthorised access, disclosure, or loss of data.
A personal data breach occurs when personal information is lost, stolen, or exposed in a way that puts individuals at risk of harm. This can include situations where sensitive information such as medical records, contact details, or financial information is accessed or disclosed without permission. For children in foster care, a personal data breach can have significant and long-lasting consequences. The exposure of their personal information can lead to identity theft, fraud, and emotional distress. In some cases, it may also put them at risk of physical harm, such as abduction or exploitation.
Who Could Be Eligible To Claim?
Individuals who have been affected by a foster care data breach may be eligible to claim compensation. Eligibility criteria may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the breach, but typically include:
- Evidence that a personal data breach occurred and that the claimant’s information was affected
- Proof of harm or distress suffered as a result of the breach
- Evidence that the organisation responsible for the breach acted wrongfully
It is important to note that there may be time limits for making a claim, and that eligibility criteria can be complex. For this reason, it is recommended that individuals seek the advice of an experienced solicitor to help them navigate the claims process and understand their options.
Time Limits Applicable To Foster Care Data Breach Claims
In the UK, there is generally a statutory limitation period for bringing a claim for a foster care data breach. Generally, this is six years from the date the breach occurred or from when the claimant became aware (or should have become aware) of the breach. However, there may be some exceptions to this rule, depending on the specific circumstances of the case. For example, if the claimant was a child at the time of the breach, the limitation period may be extended under the Limitation Act 1980.
It is advisable to seek legal advice as soon as possible after a breach occurs. An experienced solicitor can help you understand your rights, assess the strength of your claim, and ensure that any legal action is initiated within the appropriate timeframe.
What Evidence Do I Need To Make A Claim?
Proving a foster care data breach claim requires gathering evidence that demonstrates the breach occurred due to wrongful action by an organisation and that it harmed you. Several types of evidence may be necessary to prove a foster care data breach claim, including:
- Evidence of the actual breach will be needed, including when and how it occurred. This may include forensic analysis of computer systems, logs of system activity, or other documentation that can provide evidence of a security breach.
- Evidence of compromised data: It is crucial to provide evidence that shows what specific data was compromised in the breach.
- Evidence of harm: It is essential to demonstrate that the breach harmed the individuals whose data was compromised. This may include evidence of identity theft, financial harm, or other negative consequences such as distress.
Foster Care Data Breach – Case Study
One example of a foster care data breach in the UK occurred in 2019 when a local council in England accidentally published the personal details of hundreds of foster children and their families on its website.
The data breach occurred when a council employee uploaded a spreadsheet containing sensitive information, including names, addresses, and dates of birth of around 2,000 people, onto the council’s website. The spreadsheet was intended to be shared with a small number of staff members, but it was mistakenly made publicly available on the website for almost two weeks.
The data breach was discovered when a member of the public alerted the council to the fact that they had accessed the spreadsheet and could see the personal details of foster children and their families. The council immediately removed the spreadsheet from the website and investigated the incident.
Newcastle Council was subsequently fined £120,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for breaching data protection laws. The council also apologised for the breach and pledged to improve its data protection policies and procedures to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
How Much Compensation Could I Receive For A Foster Care Data Breach?
Compensation amounts for psychological injuries resulting from data breaches can differ based on several factors. You can claim compensation for material damages, which may include the costs of identity fraud or theft. You could also be eligible for compensation for non-material damages, relating to emotional distress or PTSD. One useful resource for determining potential compensation brackets is the Judicial College Guidelines, which outlines past awards for cases involving psychological harm in England and Wales.
The guidelines provide approximate compensation brackets based on the severity of the psychological harm suffered, as outlined in the 2022 edition:
- Severe psychological harm: £54,830 to £115,730
- Moderately severe psychological harm: £19,070 to £54,830
- Moderate psychological harm: £5,860 to £19,070
- Less severe psychological harm: £1,540 to £5,860
It’s important to note that these figures are not set in stone and are only intended as a general guide. The actual compensation you may receive for your foster care data breach claim could vary depending on the specific details of your case.
No Win No Fee Data Breach Claims
In the event of a foster care data breach, pursuing compensation for the harm caused can be a daunting prospect, particularly for those worried about the financial burden. However, working with a No Win No Fee lawyer can help alleviate these concerns by providing legal representation without requiring any upfront payment.
This arrangement could be available for you if you have had personal information, including medical records, stolen in a foster care data breach. By working with a No Win No Fee lawyer, you can agree on costs before legal proceedings begin, allowing you to understand what fees you can expect to pay if the claim is successful. Furthermore, if the claim is unsuccessful, you won’t have to pay the solicitor’s fee.
Our panel of solicitors offers their services on a No Win No Fee basis for individuals who have a valid claim related to a foster care data breach. To help assess your claim’s strength and potential compensation value, our advisors can provide a free consultation. Why not get in touch to find out where you stand and start your claim?
Further Insight Into Foster Care Data Breach Claims
Types Of Foster Care – A government guide on this type of care.
ICO Investigations Into Foster Care Agencies – Here, you can find a report from the ICO which gives the results of some of their investigations.
Report A Breach – Find out how to report a data breach.
Medical Records Data Breach – If your medical records have been breached, you can learn about making a claim for compensation here.
My Personal Data Has Been Breached – Tips on what to do if this has happened to you.
Data Breach Compensation – A general guide to data breach compensation claims.