An ambassador for a male domestic violence charity has reached an out-of-court settlement with a council which published his address.
Ian McNicholl suffered violence a decade ago at the hands of a woman who subsequently received a seven year jail sentence for GBH.
Later he informed Hull City Council that he remained in fear for his safety and wanted his private details to be kept out of the public eye, as was his right under current legislation. But last year he discovered that his name and address had nevertheless been added to the public electoral register.
Ian complained to the Information Commissioner, saying he suspected Hull City Council hadn’t taken his request seriously because of his gender. The Commissioner did conclude that the council had been in breach of its statutory duties.
Mr McNicholl eventually launched civil proceedings and Hull City Council finally agreed to a settlement. But it would not accept liability for the publication, blaming the inclusion of his details on a software glitch.
Ian has been an active campaigner for the Mankind Initiative and male victims of domestic violence since 2010. He recalls:
“I was shocked and horrified when I found out that my name and address were on the electoral register when I had clearly expressed my right to remain anonymous because of my previous circumstances. The stance adopted by Hull City Council and their over reliance on their “software” sent a clear message to me that the Council was not taking their safeguarding duties surrounding domestic abuse seriously. The findings of the Information Commissioner endorsed my view.”
The Mankind ambassador added:
“I remain deeply concerned and fearful as to just how many more male victims have asked for anonymity but have resulted with their details being in the public domain. I would appeal to all councils in particular to review their electoral registration procedures as a matter of urgency.”