The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has been fined £325,000 for losing DVDs containing "intimate" police interviews with 15 child sex abuse victims.
The unencrypted DVDs were sent by tracked delivery from Guildford to Brighton in November 2016 for a trial.
But as delivery was made outside office hours, they were left in a reception area and it was more than a week before the loss was discovered.
Obviously, no signature was required.
The CPS said it accepted the fine by the Information Commissioner's Office.
The DVDs also contained details of the victims, personal data of the accused, and some identifying information about others involved in the court case.
Steve Eckersley, ICO head of enforcement, said the victims had entrusted the CPS with highly sensitive personal data, adding: "A loss in trust could influence victims' willingness to report serious crimes.
"The CPS failed to take basic steps to protect the data."
Following news that the Crown Prosecution Service has been fined £325,000 by the ICO after losing unencrypted disks containing the recorded interviews of child sex abuse victims, Luke Brown, VP EMEA at WinMagic commented below.
Olivia Rudgard, religious affairs correspondent, The Telegraph
Christians have been told not to confess sex abuse secrets to Church of England clergy because they will tell the police.
Guidance from the diocese of Canterbury says clergy must tell penitents that if their confession "raises a concern about the wellbeing or safeguarding (of children?)", the priest will be "duty bound" to tell the "relevant agencies".
Church of England canon law states that information divulged during confession must be kept secret.
The issue was raised during the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse earlier this year, amid concerns that evidence of abuse could be kept from the authorities.
The national church is currently considering the issue after a review was launched in 2014, and a working group is due to discuss in December.
Julian Hills, Diocesan Secretary, said the guidance was formulated after a case where someone told a member of the clergy about abuse during the confessional.
A penitent "shared with a priest information about ongoing abuse. In this case, the legal and moral position of the priest was called into question," he said.
"It was therefore felt by the Diocesan Safeguarding Management Group that clergy must have clear guidance on how to manage situations where the seal of confession may be brought into conflict with their safeguarding responsibilities."
Mr Hills said the situation could force a priest to "choose between their responsibility to protect someone from harm and the usual requirement of confidentiality".
He insisted that the arrangement did not "abolish the seal of the confessional" but was "intended to advise the penitent not to divulge in confession something which would legally compromise the position of the priest".
“The guidance was drafted in early 2015, after seeking independent legal advice and in consultation with the then Acting Head of Delivery for the National Safeguarding Team," he added.
In other words, if you don't tell me, (hear no evil), than I don't have to tell anyone else (speak no evil). The problem with that is pretty obvious, the priest is closing his eyes to the abuse of children. Here the church is putting church tradition - the seal of confession - above the well-being of children. Jesus must be horrified! Have you not read the Gospels? Good grief!
I suspect that the practice of confession and of absolving sins of child abuse is a significant contributing factor in the practice of Bishops enabling paedophile priests to continue to rape and molest children while wearing the church's robes. By the time you become a Bishop, you've already heard many such confessions, never reporting a single one. Why would you suddenly start now? You wouldn't, of course, you would just continue to close your eyes, your ears, and your mouth.
But you will stand before God one day and if you think He will say, 'Well done thou good and faithful servant', you are certainly mistaken.
These were the words spoken to silence young children by "hostel parent" Martin Cooper, who was supposed to care for the boys and girls at Warminda hostel in East Victoria Park in inner Perth but instead subjected them to horrendous physical and sexual abuse.
Now 40 years on, those eight children — now adults aged in their 50s — have finally been believed.
Cooper is facing a lengthy jail term after being found guilty by a Perth jury of 30 sex crimes.
The abuse happened between 1978 and 1983 when Cooper was aged between 26 and 31. His victims — five girls and four boys — were between 11 and 16 years old.
All of them were wards of the state, placed under the guardianship of the State Government because their parents either could not, or would not, care for them properly.
Throughout their young lives most of them had cycled through different residential placements before ending up at Warminda, a hostel owned by the Government but sponsored and run by the Uniting Church.
Cooper and his wife, Nancy, were from the eastern states and came to WA in about May 1978 to become the hostel's "cottage parents".
According to a description of the hostel in the 1970s, it was a house with four bedrooms for the children, a swimming pool, a tennis court and a basketball court.
It said the youngsters who lived there would go to the local schools by bus and the cottage parents would organise "recreational activities" for them, such as camping trips.
Warminda sounded like a place where the children would get all the care they needed. The reality was very different.
A culture of 'fear, intimidation and abuse'
The State Prosecutor at Cooper's District Court trial outlined a place of nightmares where:
"A culture prevailed in which the children were continually subjected to fear, intimidation, threats, physical and sexual abuse".
One by one the victims took the stand, telling the jury Cooper would drink regularly, give them beer and cigarettes and show them pornography.
They said he also subjected them to horrific sexual abuse that included the repeated rapes of the girls — the youngest from when she was aged just 11 — and the molestation of the boys, some of whom were made to engage in sexual activity with girls while Cooper watched on.
One of the female victims said she was about 15 when Cooper told her he would make life easier for her if she had sex with him.
"Before that night I was tormented by him. I was told I was ugly and looked like a pig," she testified. "For a brief moment I felt I was going to be treated special."
Another victim said she was 11 when she was first raped by Cooper in a loft area of the garage.
"I was trying to crawl to get away from him and I remember the concrete floor being cold.
"He said, 'this is going to be really [good] for you, you're going to like this,' and he proceeded to have sex with me. "I'm thinking to myself it didn't feel good. I didn't want to do it but I was trapped in the corner."
The victims also testified about constant physical abuse, with one man saying the atmosphere was "one of survival".
There was evidence from one witness who said the boys were sometimes encouraged to engage in "bare-knuckle fights" while one of the girls said she would be forced to have cold showers as punishment.
Another man, who was 14 in 1978, said Cooper had "belted" him so badly, he thought he was going to die.
Complaints met by silence
Some of the victims testified that Cooper always told them not to tell anyone what had happened, saying things like: "You're a ward of the state … nobody is going to believe you … no one wants you … I can make you disappear."
But they were not believed and instead said they were told off for being troublemakers, telling lies and making up stories.
One boy even claimed when he went to the local police station, a detective punched him in the stomach, told him "you're a welfare kid, stop causing trouble" and threw him out of the building.
It was not until the recent Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that many victims were finally given an opportunity to be heard and Cooper, who had returned to the eastern states, was extradited to face trial.
The Royal Commission saw thousands of victims come forward in hundreds of different cases, their stories spanning decades and shining a spotlight onto some of the darkest corners of Australia's past.
An abuse that continues over time
While Cooper's guilty verdict may start to bring some closure for the eight complainants in this case, a child protection advocate has warned it would be unwise to think Warminda was merely an example of history.
Hetty Johnston founded child protection organisation Bravehearts in 1997 after her seven-year-old daughter told her she was being sexually abused by a family member.
"The system is just broken, it's so terribly broken and the same thing is happening today," Ms Johnston said.
"The systemic dysfunction that causes incredible, catastrophic harm to children is still happening."
She said the harm for child abuse victims often continued well beyond the initial attack.
"It's not just the sexual offending that's doing the harm, although certainly that's doing harm," she said.
"But it's what happens next that defines the outcome for that person.
"If they're not believed the first time, if that interview isn't done properly, they'll be shut down and they'll believe what the offender has told them is true — 'no-one will believe you'.
"But it's very rare for children to lie about these things and if they do lie about them it's pretty easily unpicked."
While she said there has been some improvement in this area over the past two decades, she still heard and saw too many examples where children, like those at Warminda 40 years ago, were being ignored or not believed.
"At what point are we going to listen to these children? We just don't want to hear it, we don't want to believe it," she said.
"These people have been harmed and they'll be harmed for the rest of their lives and he (Cooper) did that to them. But so, in some ways, did the system."
Not just the 'system' but society in general is not listening even today, all over the world, children are still voiceless. It's beginning to change in some countries, but it is glacially slow while somewhere between 1 and 10 million children are being sexually abused every day.
Cooper denied outright ever physically or sexually harming any of the children, claiming the evidence of the eight complainants was unreliable and not credible, nor believable.
In his testimony, he painted a picture of a hostel that was run as much as possible like a "normal family" home, where the children were subject to strict rosters for chores, homework, showering and bed time.
He described it a "busy place", saying there were regular visitors including the children's government-appointed welfare officers, a housekeeper and a tutor who would help them with their schoolwork.
Cooper also outlined a weekly meeting that would happen in the loungeroom where the children would sit in a semicircle around him and Nancy and air any grievances they had, so they could "deal with problems in a sensible way".
His lawyers also suggested the children had cared for him and Nancy, producing greeting cards given to them by some of the victims congratulating them on their anniversary and the birth of their daughter.
In the end the jury deliberated for almost five days before convicting Cooper of 30 offences.
One of the female victims was in court and wept quietly as the verdicts were delivered, knowing that four decades on she had finally been believed.
A paedophile jailed for 40 years in Texas for sexually abusing children at a summer camp is pleading for a transfer to a WA prison, claiming it would prevent a “grave injustice” to Perth boys who have accused him of similar crimes.
He has to serve at least 20 years before he is eligible for parole.
Zirus has applied to the Australian Attorney-General’s Department and US leaders for an international prisoner transfer.
He claims his main reason is that it is “past due” that he faces 10 criminal charges in WA over allegations he molested four boys at camps he ran in the Peel region between 2006 and 2008.
“Not only does the passage of time hinder my defence, but it is extremely unfair on the children and their families to wait so long for any type of closure on the matter,” Zirus wrote.
He admitted he would like to serve his jail time closer to family and friends for a better chance of rehabilitation.
Zirus, 34, wrote to The West Australian asking the public to support his transfer bid, whether or not they “support my innocence”.
He was convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child, sexual contact with a child, and continuous sexual abuse of a child younger than 14.
Child protection advocate Hetty Johnston, founder of Bravehearts, said anyone who thought the convicted paedophile cared about anyone else was dreaming. “This would be all about him,” she said. “He just doesn’t like where he is and I think that’s fabulous.
“Once he’s finished his sentence there, then extradite him back to Australia to face the charges here.”
To secure a transfer, a prisoner must gain the consent of the WA and Australian attorneys-general and US officials. Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter refused to say whether the Government was considering a transfer request, citing privacy reasons.
If Zirus was transferred to WA, he would not escape the jail term imposed by US authorities, with a sentencing country’s head sentence preserved in Australia.