SHE USED ILLICIT DRUGS,
SHE ATTENDED A METHADONE CLINIC,
SHE HAD A PREGNANCY TERMINATED…
All these statements about me are true. But that is the person I was, before I had my two children, not the person I am now. It is a terrible thing to watch your past consume your present and future – but that is what happened to me.
My personal health information was wrongfully disclosed by the medical records department of the hospital where I had delivered my babies. They gave the information to my abusive ex-partner, Jake. In addition to my history of drug use and a pregnancy termination, he also discovered that I had Hepatitis C.
Jake received the records when he lodged a request for the children’s medical information, which consequently also contained my personal information. When my personal health information from the hospital had been released, he decided to use my past against me during Family Court proceedings. This was not only to my detriment, but also that of my children’s.
The disclosure resulted in the Family Court and the Independent Children’s Lawyer panicking about the risks I posed to my own children! To my disgust and humiliation, they wanted me to prove that I could be a fit and good mother as a former drug user and a woman living with Hepatitis C. And Jake’s aggression towards me during this time caused the children significant stress and anxiety.
Finally after 7 painful and invasive days, the hearing was over. HALC and a barrister had assisted me through all of the proceedings. I am confident that the Court’s decision was in the best interests of my children.
HALC then helped me make a complaint about the release of my information to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Now there is finally formal recognition that mother’s health information must be considered separately to her children’s, especially when being released to third parties like in my situation.
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[all names and information that might identify any individual have been changed for confidentiality purposes]