Data leak hell for victim of domestic violence who fled to Islington
A mother fleeing domestic violence, who had her address published in Islington Council’s latest data leak, has described the situation as her “worst nightmare”.
Although the council didn’t initially admit to it, 10 people who had escaped from abusive partners were among the 2,400 residents whose personal details were published on the website What do They Know last month.
And one 32-year-old mother who fled a violent relationship with her young children and finally found sanctuary in Islington, says she will no longer feel safe until she moves – uprooting her young children once again.
The woman, who asked not to be identified, said: “It’s my worst nightmare and I am absolutely disgusted. I was in a violent, abusive relationship and we came to Islington to be safe.
“I don’t want to go into details, but I was sent to a women’s refuge. Then I was moved through various hostels and services, which is not nice with small children.
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“After a long battle, we finally got housed properly in 2010. We were settled in permanent accommodation, got to know the area and the children were doing well in school.
Now, after all that, we have to move again.”
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She is concerned about the effect the leak will have on the children, as well as the possibility of further council data breaches.
“When we move, how can we be sure it won’t happen again? Everyone has a right to feel safe in their own home, but how can we?
“While we wait to move we are having more security fitted, so the children are wondering what that is for. I am constantly thinking ‘what if he finds me?’
“If he was searching for my name on the internet, which he could well be, it would have come up. That would have been like Christmas to him.”
Teresa Parker, from the charity Women’s Aid which helps victims of domestic violence, said it was vital for women to retain confidentiality when being rehoused, especially as leaving a violent relationship can often be the most dangerous time for them.
She added:“We hope that the council in this situation takes responsibility for what has happened and takes action to safely help to relocate the women concerned.”
A spokesman for Islington Council apologised for the mistake and said: “If a person is experiencing domestic violence then that is an important factor in considering a housing transfer request and so this information is noted.”
He stressed that the only details which would have identified women as domestic violence victims were the letters ‘DV’ which appeared alongside the names of 10 people on the re-housing lists.