27 Jun 2012

ACC privacy breach victim 'felt suicidal'

8:40 am on 27 June 2012

An Accident Compensation Corporation claimant has described the stress she has been under in fighting to get more support for trauma counselling from ACC - and then finding out she was part of a massive privacy breach.

The woman, who does not want to be named, is a victim of sexual abuse.

Her claim details were among those of 6748 claimants on a database mistakenly sent to another ACC claimant, Bronwyn Pullar, last August.

ACC has offered the woman $250 over the privacy breach.

She says the release of her personal details made her very scared and she felt that she couldn't trust ACC.

"I didn't know if my information had gone to anywhere else. I didn't know if what they told me was true and it took me ages to get them to actually send me a letter after the breach."

The ACC claimant says the experience, on top of her ongoing struggles with ACC, led to her feeling suicidal.

She says it took two calls from her lawyer for ACC to send her a letter of apology.

Compensation inadequate - Labour

The Labour Party says the corporation is refusing to accept the seriousness of its privacy breaches, by offering inadequate compensation to those claimants whose details were leaked.

Labour MP Andrew Little, says ACC cannot be certain who saw the details within the corporation or while Ms Puller had them in her possession for six months.

He says $250 compensation is inadequate for what was a serious breakdown in ACC's systems and procedures.

ACC says the compensation is based on the extent of the breach and the level of harm or potential harm associated with it, as well as the client's individual circumstances.

It says any client unhappy with a remedy offered can address their concern to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.