Farleys specialist abuse law solicitors were instructed in 2012 by three siblings who had suffered horrendous abuse at the hands of their step-father. The abuse had occurred decades earlier whilst the children were growing up in the London Borough of Hackney.
The abuser had recently been convicted of cruelty to our clients as children and had been punished with a lengthy prison sentence. This story made the national news.
The abuse suffered by these three children was bizarre and appalling. In addition to serious physical violence resulting in long term injury, the children had been subject to emotional and psychological abuse. Examples of this abuse included being forced to run the three mile journey to school while their step-father followed them in the car. If they stopped running they would be beaten. They were dangled over a high balcony so that they may fear falling. They were made to wade across rivers rather than using a bridge so that they would fear drowning. Commenting on the case, the Judge in the criminal proceedings stated: “Mans inhumanity to man always disappoints but a man’s deliberate and unceasing cruelty to disadvantaged children repels and sickens”
How Farleys were able to help
The difficulty in this case, as in many similar cases is that the abuser was serving a prison sentence and did not have the means to compensate our clients for what they had suffered.
Medical reports were obtained in relation to all three clients which revealed serious psychiatric injuries which had affected them since childhood. Even though the abuse had taken place approximately two decades ago the effects were still significant.
This was a difficult case. There were arguments that our clients were statute barred having brought the damages action out of time. There were difficulties in obtaining records and piecing together what had happened. A considerable amount of time was spent reviewing Social Services records. It was eventually established that these three children had been significantly failed by Social Services who should have been aware of the abuse that they were suffering and should have intervened to protect them. Coincidentally the abuser himself had worked as a Social Worker.
The matter eventually progressed to a Joint Settlement Meeting where an overall settlement of £150,000 was achieved on behalf of our clients.
The challenges in the case were establishing liability against the Council for the acts of the step-father, where limitation was a significant issue and where the abuse had happened so long ago. Our clients were understandably delighted at the outcome and indicated that they were not only pleased that they had received a compensatory sum for what they had suffered but also that there had been some recognition with that payment of responsibility for what they had been through.