Anger over DoCS mix-up
ROBERT GREEN, 31, of Mount Burrell, was the last to learn that Shiyanne Simpson was not his biological daughter.
Mr Green's girlfriend, Laurinda Simpson, 27, gave birth to the baby girl in May. However, to placate the mother of her former partner, Ms Simpson agreed to undergo a paternity test through the NSW Department of Community Services (DoCS).
What she hadn't counted on was DoCS informing the ex-partner's mother of the results before either herself or her new partner.
Lawyers have told The Northern Star the department's actions appeared to be in breach of the Privacy Act.
Under the Act, only the person whose blood or tissue has been taken has the right to know the result of medical tests. Only Mr Green and Ms Simpson undertook the tests.
DoCS concedes the grandmother had no legal right to be informed of the results, blaming the clinic that conducted the tests for the breach.
A department spokesman said that the error occurred when the laboratory sent the results directly to Ms Simpson, rather than DoCS.
When the department realised this they telephoned the grandmother to tell her that her son, who now lives in Queensland, was the baby's father.
This is despite the former partner not being tested and not making any attempt to see the baby or inquire about her welfare.
The apparent privacy breach meant that the baby's grandmother told people about the results, with word quickly spreading throughout the close-knit Nimbin community, near where the couple lives. As a consequence, many friends learned Mr Green was not the biological father before he did.
“It was very embarrassing,” he said.
Ms Simpson says she did not know she was already pregnant when she began her relationship with Mr Green.
“I honestly believed Robert was the father,” she said.
Ms Simpson, who has already had one child removed by DoCS, and Mr Green, who has previously been jailed for malicious damage, feel they have reformed and should be treated like everyone else.
They believe they are owed an apology by the department.SHOULD DoCS HAVE TOLD THE BABY'S GRANDMOTHER? Phone 6624 3266 or SMS 0428 264 948
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Nimbin child care monitored by DoCS