29 November 2021

Government contractor illegally accessed data on child sex abuse victims

| Albert McKnight
ACT Law Courts

A woman, aged in her 50s, has pleaded guilty to a charge of unauthorised access of protected information. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

A federal government contractor repeatedly and illegally accessed information on two different applicants to the National Redress Scheme, the national program to support survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, including her own brother.

The scheme provides support to people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse.

On Thursday (25 November), the ACT Magistrates Court heard the woman accessed unauthorised information in the scheme 46 times – 35 times for the first person and 11 times for the second.

The offences occurred in 2018 and 2019 while also working for the Scheme for Services Australia.

While one of the people was her brother, the other was unrelated to her.

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Her lawyer, Michael Kukulies-Smith from Kamy Saeedi Law, said she had been looking up the information in the scheme to see where the process was up to for her brother.

He admitted her actions did involve a breach of trust with her employer and said she had lost her job partly due to what she had done.

But Mr Kukulies-Smith also said she did not disseminate what she saw and she had shown remorse for her actions.

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Magistrate James Lawton said that it was appropriate to record a conviction due to the number of times she accessed the information and how she had accessed details on a person unrelated to her.

The woman had pleaded guilty to a charge of unauthorised access to protected information and was convicted and fined $1000.

Region Media has not named the woman to avoid identifying her brother.

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