Ealing Abbey and St Benedict’s School occupy a beautiful building in West London. They are part of the English Benedictine Congregation.
Since 2003 four members of staff including a former Abbott have been convicted of offences relating to the abuse of many children in their care.
Yesterday the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) released a report in relation to Ealing Abbey and St Benedict’s School. We at Farleys have a particular interest having represented victims at the school.
IICSA concluded that the total scale of abuse will never be known but is likely to be much greater. They described a sadistic and predatory atmosphere and a culture of cover up and denial in the school allowing sexual abusers to commit crimes against children for decades.
The hundred page report mirrors our own findings from litigating against the school.
In one particular case that we have dealt with a vulnerable 9 year old boy suffered sadistic physical and sexual abuse at the hands of a lay teacher. The worst aspect of his case was that when he turned to a Father at the school rather than protecting him and dealing with the abuse that he suffered the Father himself used the opportunity to sexually abuse the client.
It is fair to say that our client’s entire life has been affected by this abuse. He has suffered psychiatric problems and, despite the fact that he is now in his 50’s, he still suffers because of what happened to him at the school. This is true of many survivors who gave evidence to the Inquiry.
From a legal perspective these are always difficult cases. Limitation is an issue although in light of the IICSA report we would hope that any future Claimants would receive a sympathetic approach from the Defendants.
Quantum is also problematic. Claimants in many of the Ealing/St Benedict’s cases suffered terrible abuse but this was more of a physical/sadist nature. The IICSA report referred to physical abuse in many cases being used as a platform for sexual gratification. The CICA tariff scheme is not equipped to deal with this type of injury. The lowest awards tend to be made for this type of injury not reflecting the true impact. It is only if a psychiatric illness has developed that more reasonable damages are payable.
We await with interest the conclusions of IICSA particularly in relation to the suitability of the existing CICA scheme in compensating victims of this type of abuse.
Any survivor of abuse at Ealing Abbey and St Benedict’s School is encouraged to come forward and will hopefully take some comfort from the Inquiry’s findings. To speak to a specialist in our abuse department in confidence, please call our dedication abuse line on 0330 134 6430 or contact the team by email.