Male victim of domestic abuse reveals breach in Data Protection Act by Hull City Council over Electoral Register

Ian McNicholl, a male survivor of domestic abuse, has agreed an out of court settlement with Hull City Council after they erroneously revealed his address on their electoral register in 2016.

The Information Commissioner found Hull City Council to be in breach of the Data Protection Act as they had breached their statutory safeguarding duties and obligations towards Mr McNicholl. Hel contended that Hull City Council had not retained his request for anonymity because he was a male victim of domestic abuse.

Only after Mr McNicholl had instigated Civil Proceedings against Hull City Council did Hull City Council agree to settle on a no liability basis although the Council blamed a software problem for the reason(s) that his name had reappeared on the electoral register.

Under existing legislation, victims of domestic abuse are allowed to apply for anonymity should they remain in fear for their safety. Mr McNicholl was a victim of domestic abuse during 2007 and 2008 and his partner (Michelle) was sentenced to seven years in prison for causing “Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent” in 2009.

Mr McNicholl had informed Hull City Council on a number of occasions that he wished to remain anonymous and his details had been allocated anonymous status for a number of years. However, in 2016, Mr McNicholl himself discovered that his name and address were on the public electoral register.

Since 2010, he has been campaigning across the UK to raise the profile of male victims of domestic abuse including the need for both society and for local councils and the police to better support male victims. Mr McNicholl is an Ambassador for the ManKind Initiative charity, which provides a national helpline for male victims across the United Kingdom.