An interesting case was reported this week regarding an unnamed council which settled a claim for compensation for a pupil who was sexually assaulted at primary school by other pupils in the school playground.
A claim for peer on peer abuse can be difficult in terms of liability.
If the abuse occurred at school or in a care home, for example, any claim brought against the local authority (or any other party responsible for the school or care home) would have to be brought in negligence. This would be on the basis that they knew or ought to have known about the abuse.
If, for example, there was an awareness of an assault taking place and nothing was done to prevent further assaults happening, an argument could be made in negligence. Another option would be to consider a criminal injuries compensation authority (CICA) claim if the matter has been reported to the police.
Peer on peer assaults are a growing issue and the age of criminal responsibility only starts from the age of 10. This can lead to difficulties with how police forces deal with and records complaints.
In this particular case the claim was settled without liability being admitted. That is a fairly common occurrence in abuse cases in my experience. The matter went to court because court approval is needed for the settlement of any case where the claimant is a child under the age of 18 or lacks capacity.
It will be interesting to see if any cases come before the court to be decided on liability.
Farleys can offer a highly experienced team who can advise on all aspects of bringing a claim for compensation for child abuse. Should you wish to speak to me of one of our staff in confidence we can be contacted on 0330 134 6430 or by email through our online contact form.