Man Sexually Abused By School Gets His Life Back 25 Years Later

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Nathalie Swanwick

Abuse Claims Solicitor

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We helped a man claim over £160,000 under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme for historic child abuse in school by his old headmaster. Half a million children suffer abuse in the UK every year – but with historical sexual abuse, the statistics were far greater. It’s an extremely sad reality, and if you were a victim of historical child abuse, you still may be able to claim compensation.

Mr R was physically and sexually abused during his school years in the 1970s and 80s, under the care of two different establishments. In his first school, Mr R was physically abused by the headmaster and two other staff members. At the second school he attended, he was then sexually abused by a house parent at the school, too. The house parent was convicted for 8 counts of abuse against different boys and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but Mr R’s abuse was not part of the allegations, as he had not yet come forward about his abuse.

When Mr R did eventually report his abuse to the police, the house parent was 83 years old and unable to remember anything, so the police decided not to continue with his case.

The role of a school houseparent at boarding or residential schools are to look after the welfare, safety and pastoral care of students at the school. In this case, the individual in chare had abused his position of trust and abused Mr R.

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How We Helped Mr R

Mr R got in touch with our Abuse Team over 25 years after his abuse took place. Even though the time for bringing a claim had passed, we  pursued a Civil Claim and a Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) claim on his behalf.

We started by gathering medical evidence of how the abuse had affected Mr R and instructed a Consultant Psychiatrist to see Mr R for his mental health. Mr R was already receiving support from secondary care mental health services for Schizoaffective Disorder, which caused him to suffer symptoms of schizophrenia, delusions and significant symptoms of mood disorder, including elation and depression. He also experienced persistent symptoms of hearing voices and beliefs that the government were following him and conspiring against him.

The medical expert concluded that 45% of his problems were due to the sexual abuse at the second school and 5% were due to the physical abuse at the first school. The other 50% were due to his family history and genetics. This confirmed that the abuse significantly contributed towards Mr R’s long-term problems with mental health issues, alongside his inability to work for 12 years.

 

How we put forward a Civil Claim

We put forward a civil claim against the Local Authority that owned and managed the two schools Mr R attended.Because some time had passed since the abuse took place, this meant that evidence was unavailable. For example, the Local Authority were unable to locate any documents that proved Mr R’s attendance at the schools and were unable to identify the exact dates of employment of two of the abusers. One of the abusers had also died while the other two were untraceable.

The Local Authority offered Mr R £30,000 in compensation, which Mr R accepted.

 

How we put forward a CICA Claim

While the Civil Claim was ongoing, we then made two separate applications to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) – one for each school that Mr R attended.Once the Civil Claim had concluded, we then asked the CICA to make a reduced payment under the scheme which allowed the CICA to make an award, even if another payment had been received, but deduct the money already received in the civil claim.

The CICA took into account Mr R’s psychiatric injuries and his loss of earnings. He was awarded £130,133 by the CICA for the sexual abuse he suffered at his second school, which is the highest award you can receive for psychiatric injury under the CICA scheme.

This is a fantastic result as the abuse at the second school contributed to 45% of his problems but the decision was made on the basis that it was 100% responsible for his mental health problems. This amount also reflected past and future loss of earnings from when Mr R stopped working until his retirement age at 67.

The CICA claim against the first school is still ongoing with the view that Mr R could be awarded for severe physical abuse resulting in multiple moderate injuries.

 

The Outcome for Mr R

To this point, Mr R has been awarded £160,133 in compensation to date. This is a fantastic result for Mr R who has set up a Personal Injury Trust and has given security to his family and children and their future.

Mr R’s case shows the importance of considering the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme where the risks of taking a civil claim to court often means that survivors of abuse have to accept lower amounts of compensation. The CICA scheme can supplement awards, helping abuse survivors to get a higher sum of compensation that truly reflects what they’ve been through.

We are pleased that we could help Mr R get the justice he deserved and wish him all the best for the future.

 

How Simpson Millar Can Help

If you were abused as a child and have since become an adult, you might still be able to claim compensation for the abuse, just like in Mr R’s case.

There are three different ways you might get compensation:

 

When you’ve suffered any kind of sexual or physical abuse, it can take a long time before you feel ready to talk about it. Reporting abuse can take a lot of courage, so when you're ready to talk, we're ready to listen.

 

Our specialist team of Abuse Claims Solicitors are compassionate, understanding, and easy to talk to. We’ll handle your case with the sensitivity it deserves, offering you help and support throughout the whole process. We can provide you with details of support organisations and survivors groups who are specialists in providing support to abuse survivors.

We have helped many survivors bring a successful claim even if the abuse happened many years ago, allowing them to get the closure and justice they deserve.

Our Abuse Team have been helping survivors of abuse for more than 30 years and can help you take the first steps towards making a civil claim or criminal injuries claim.

 

Call us on 0808 239 1287, because when you're ready to talk, we're ready to listen

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Nathalie Swanwick

Abuse Claims Solicitor

Areas of Expertise:
Abuse Claims

Nathalie began her legal career in 2009 after completing her law degree at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2008. She has specialised in abuse claims since 2010, and went on to qualify as a Solicitor in 2013.

Following her qualification Nathalie specialised in a range of personal injury claims including abuse claims and criminal injury claims. She has acted for clients who have suffered life-changing injuries such as brain injuries.

References

NSPCC. (2022). Childhood Day. [Online] Available at: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/about-us/news-opinion/2022/childhood-day/

Gov.uk. (n.d.). Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). [Online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/criminal-injuries-compensation-authority

Simpson Millar. (n.d.). Criminal Injury Compensation Claims. [Online] Available at: https://www.simpsonmillar.co.uk/abuse-claims-solicitors/criminal-injury-compensation-claims/

Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Schizoaffective Disorder. [Online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/schizoaffective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20354504

Simpson Millar. (n.d.). Criminal Injuries Compensation Payouts for Abuse Explained. [Online] Available at: https://www.simpsonmillar.co.uk/media/abuse-claims/criminal-injuries-compensation-payouts-for-abuse-explained/

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