Northern Ireland news

Survivors of historical institutional abuse to receive more than £100,000 for being exposed in data breach

Interim Advocate Brendan McAllister issued an apology for the disclosure

NEARLY 40 survivors of historical institutional abuse (HIA) are to receive more than £100,000 in total for being exposed in a data breach.

The payout forms part of a settlement reached in legal action threatened against the body set up to champion their cause.

In May this year a newsletter circulated in an email by the HIA Interim Advocate's Office mistakenly revealed the names of around 150 abuse victims.

At the time Interim Advocate Brendan McAllister issued an apology for the disclosure of their details.

He said measures were immediately taken to recall the email, with the incident also reported to the Information Commissioner.

Pre-action correspondence was issued by Belfast-based legal firm KRW Law on behalf of 38 of those impacted by the breach.

Claims were made for misuse of private information, and violations of both data protection and human rights.

But a solicitor representing the group of survivors announced on Thursday that extensive discussions led to a resolution before any proceedings were issued at the High Court.

Owen Beattie of KRW Law said: "We can confirm that a six-figure settlement has been reached for our clients.

"We commend the efforts of the parties involved in bringing this litigation to a favourable conclusion."

With the Interim Advocate's Office funded by Stormont, it is understood that the terms of the settlement required approval at ministerial level.

Mr Beattie added: "We trust the necessary procedures have been implemented to ensure this grievous breach does not occur again."

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