Commission admits abuse survivor's privacy breached

A privacy breach which saw the personal details of a sexual abuse survivor disclosed by New Zealand's Royal Commission into Historic Abuse has caused "serious distress'', a support network says.

The breach occurred when a survivor, who made a submission on the Royal Commission's draft terms of reference, was sent an email acknowledgement from the commission.

The acknowledgement was inadvertently sent to another party with the same first name, disclosing the victim's name and email address to the unrelated party, it was confirmed yesterday.

A Royal Commission spokeswoman contacted this morning confirmed the breach and said it was being treated "very seriously''.

The breach was believed to be a "one-off'' incident which occurred in May this year, but was only discovered and disclosed to the victim yesterday, she said.

Details of the victim's submission were not revealed by the breach, which occurred as a result of "human error'', she said.

The victim had already received an apology, and no other survivors' personal details had been disclosed. The commission's internal processes would be tightened as a result, she said.

"We are now looking into how this happened and will be putting steps in place to ensure this can not happen again.''

Liz Tonks, a spokeswoman for the Network of Survivors in Faith-based Institutions and their Supporters, said she was concerned by the breach, which had left the victim "seriously distressed''.

chris.morris@odt.co.nz

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