ACC $250 breach payout an 'injustice upon injustice'

By Paul Harper

Photo / file
Photo / file

The Labour Party is urging ACC's sensitive claimants affected by a mass privacy breach to reject the corporation's compensatory offer of $250 because it includes a hush condition.

ACC last year emailed the details of 6748 clients - including nearly 250 claimants who were the victims of sexual or violent assault - to another ACC client, Bronwyn Pullar, who exposed the breach.

The corporation has now sent a four page letter of apology to the sensitive claims clients, Fairfax Media reported, offering them $250 compensation for the breach.

The letter from ACC privacy officer Miriama Henderson says the payment is based on the level of harm or potential harm brought about by the breach.

It asks for their bank account details so the compensation could be deposited.

However in order to receive the money clients must agree to "maintain the strictest confidentiality about the terms of the agreement and settlement of all aspects of it".

One woman, who has been battling ACC for several years as she seeks more support for trauma counselling following a rape, told Radio New Zealand this morning she was "very scared" after learning of the privacy breach.

"I didn't know if my information had gone 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."

She said the whole experience, on top of her ongoing struggle with ACC, has led to her feel suicidal.

"I didn't think it was fair on my family to put them through all this because I want to be a mum but I can't be because going through this process makes you traumatised the whole time and I can't function."

"To be offered $250 [for the breach] doesn't cover any of my husband's extra time he's taken to look after me.

"So now I have to write to ACC to say I won't be accepting the $250. They might as well not bother."

The woman said seeking support from ACC is a "harsh process to go through for someone in a sensitive claim", and feels she was treated as "just a number".

"I just want other people to know that ... we're not trying to take money from the taxpayer.

"I just want to be able to function in the community and get help, because I didn't ask for what happened to me."

Labour's ACC spokesperson Andrew Little said the offer "heaps injustice upon injustice".

"The insistence by ACC of a confidentiality clause is remarkable given ACC is the only one that has shown it cannot abide by such an undertaking," Mr Little said.

"We are advising people receiving this offer to tell ACC they reject it, and if a better offer is not made to refer their case to the Privacy Commissioner."

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