Can I Claim for Abuse while in the Care of a Local Authority?
Whilst most children who are taken into the care of the Local Authority are provided with a safe, stable and loving environment, sadly, this is not always the case. Some children suffer child abuse at the hands of those who were supposed to protect them.
If you were taken into the care of a Council or Local Authority and suffered abuse, you might be in a position to make a claim against the Local Authority who was responsible for your care.
Any child in the care of the Local Authority has the right to be protected from abuse. It doesn’t matter if the placement was short term or long term - the Local Authority may have a ‘duty of care’ to them.
Local Authorities can place children in care in various settings – this could be a children’s home, family group homes or foster homes and abuse in these environments can take many different forms. It could be sexual abuse, physical and emotional abuse or neglect.
At Simpson Millar, we deal with many abuse cases, particularly in child abuse, where the abuse took place many years ago. In one case, we successfully secured £50,000 compensation for a client who suffered sexual abuse while in the care of a Local Authority when he was 11 years old; and contacted us when he was 30. See Case Study for details.
If this happened to you, please don’t be afraid to come forward as we can work to achieve justice for you.
Who Do I Claim Against?
You’ll probably hear the term “vicariously liable” if you make an abuse claim against a Local Authority.
This just means that someone else is responsible for the actions of a person. In the context of your abuse claim, it means that the Local Authority may be responsible for the actions of the person or people who abused you, but only if the Local Authority were responsible for them contractually and the work they were doing comes within the scope of their contract of employment/responsibility.
Different types of abuse in care can include:
- Abuse of a child in a residential care home, or by a representative of a voluntary organisation that arranges activities for children or vulnerable adults
- Failing to adequately care for a child in care, for instance, by not removing a child who is being abused when the Local Authority should have done so.
- Wrongful use of power by a Local Authority, such as placing a disabled adult in the wrong setting for their needs.
Our Abuse Solicitors have over 20 years of experience helping people who suffered abuse whilst in the care of the Local Authority. When you’re ready to talk, we’re ready to listen. We can then investigate and advise you whether you can bring a claim.
You’ll probably want to know how much it will cost to make an abuse claim. Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for Legal Aid. If not, we may be able to deal with your case through a No Win, No Fee agreement. We’ll discuss the best funding option for you once we’ve reviewed your claim.
Time Limit for Making a Claim
There are time limits involved in making a claim for abuse against a Local Authority. These time limits are set in law with the Limitation Act 1980, but many abuse claims don’t surface for many years afterwards.
The Court has the power to extend these deadlines so claims can be made, but it’s really important to talk to a specialist Abuse Solicitor soon as possible. We can help you to be clear about exactly where you stand and ask the Court to extend the deadline. This will not be possible in all cases, but we’ll do all we can to help you.
For free legal advice call our Abuse Claims Solicitors
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.