Foster Care Abuse Victims to Sue Local Authorities

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Overturning two previous judgments, the UK Supreme Court has delivered a landmark ruling which opens the door for people who were abused by their foster carers to hold the Local Authority to account.

Solicitor Peter Garsden, Head of Abuse Claims at Simpson Millar Solicitors, welcomed the decision and says he expects to see a groundswell of cases brought from abuse victims in the wake of this judgment.

If you are a survivor of abuse whilst in the care of a Local Authority, and you're ready to talk about your experiences, contact our Solicitors for free legal advice and to see how we can help you. Ask about Legal Aid or if we can deal with your case on a No Win, No Fee basis.

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The Case of Armes v Nottinghamshire County Council

This case concerned a child who was placed in foster care from the age of seven to 18, first with a couple known as Mr and Mrs A between 25 March 1985 and March 1986, and later with Mr and Mrs B between 23 October 1987 and 28 February 1988.

In the first instance, the appellant was physically abused by Mrs A, and later then sexually abused by Mr B. Nottinghamshire County Council has always denied liability for the crimes perpetrated by the two foster carers, despite the fact that it happened under its watch.

Solicitor Peter Garsden, called the decision 'long overdue' and said, "This ground breaking decision finally imposes a legal liability on Local Authorities for acts of abuse committed by foster parents. This is long overdue and a welcome extension of the law to protect vulnerable children.”

Local Authorities Held Accountable

Peter explains, “Local Authorities have for many years argued that they could not be held responsible for the abuse done by foster carer, despite that fact that these are contracted, paid, trained and supervised by them.

“If abuse was committed by a care worker in a children's home, the Local Authority would, however, always be held responsible. This is entirely illogical and the Supreme Court has finally recognised that.”

A Chance to be Heard

Peter, who is also President of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers, added, "For 15 years, we have been turning away cases from people who have been abused in foster care, and the Local Authorities have continued to escape responsibility.

"Now we can finally open the door to those people, and let them have their day in Court. Without doubt, we will see a ground swell of this type of case which is only right.

"Justice is long overdue for people who suffered the most horrendous and crippling abuse as children, under the watch of Local Authorities."

This information was originally published on our website on 18/10/2017.

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