Client X was taken into the care of the Local Authority when aged 12/13, initially placed in a children’s home and then fostered.
Abuse solicitor, Jonathan Bridge, was approached in 2021 to consider a possible claim against the Local Authority in relation to sexual abuse which took place during the foster placement.
Client X was sexually abused by his foster mother, resulting in deteriorating mental health, poor education and a consequent impact on his work and career opportunities.
As the abuse was female to male, the facts of the claim were rare but not unheard of. Client X felt as though the abuse would have been treated differently by the Defendants had it have been male to female abuse.
How Farleys were able to help
The first difficulty faced was limitation, which is a common difficulty with many abuse claims. Client X had found it very difficult to talk about the case prior to bringing the claim. Client X’s mental state was fragile, he had been referred for Counselling, suffered from anxiety and was reluctant to leave home. Client X was therefore able to show that he had good reason as to why he was unable to bring the claim at an earlier stage. The defendants were persuaded to allow the claim to continue ‘out of time’. There was no argument available to them that there was any prejudice from the perceived delay.
The next difficulty was in relation to liability. The Defendants disputed liability on the basis that Client X consented to the sexual activity. Client X was 15 years of age at the time of the abuse and the defendant’s suggested that the defence of consent was available. Client X had various sets of records that would support the claim, including Social Services records and records of a report to the Police, who fully investigated the matter. The decision was made to instruct a Psychiatrist to explore the issue of consent further and comment on the impact the abuse had on Client X.
In claims of abuse by foster carer’s, Claimants are helped by the decision in Armes (Appellant) v Nottinghamshire County Council (Respondent), which effectively establishes vicarious liability – foster carers are treated as an employee of the Local Authority.
After thorough review and consideration of Client X’s records and psychiatric report, an offer of £35,000 was put forward to the Defendants. The Defendants returned with an offer of £15,000. Discussions were entered into and whilst the difficulties of liability and limitation remained, a settlement was agreed in the sum of £25,000.
Client X commented,
I’m really grateful for Farleys taking my case as I was beginning to give up. They guided me throughout and put me at ease. Farleys answers all my queries promptly (there was a lot) and with great knowledge.
Contact us confidentially
If you have suffered abuse as a result of negligence of the Local Authority, you may be entitled to make a claim for damages. Contact Farleys’ specialist abuse team to discuss your case in confidence on 0330 134 6430, speak to us confidentially on our online chat below, or get in touch through our online contact form.