Over the last few weeks we have seen various reports and stories of teenagers being groomed and abused by gangs of men.
The drama “Three Girls” brought the stark realities of the Rochdale abuse scandal into our living rooms.
The story line of Bethany in Coronation Street features a teenage girl being groomed and passed around a group of men who sexually abuse her.
Client P approached Farleys in November 2015 with a story even more shocking than that of the three girls or Bethany Platt.
As with many of our clients this Claimant had suffered familial abuse before being received into care. She had been sexually and physically abused by her father, step father and cousin and by the age of 12 was desperately in need of help. She was taken into the care of Middlesbrough Social Services.
Instead of receiving the help and nurturing she required she found herself in an even more desperate position. She became a child prostitute. Whilst in the care of Middlesbrough Council she began frequenting the red light district having sex with multiple individuals. She suffered repeated STI’s from the age of 13 and became dependent on cannabis and later heroin. She describes that at the age of 12/13 she started associating with older mostly Asian men who would buy her drink and drugs and have sex with her.
The Claimant failed to complete her education and left without any formal qualification.
By the age of 16 she became involved in a relationship with a partner who was violent to her. She reports that he raped her and physically assaulted her. As she got older the only work that she could find was in massage parlours. She was left with a criminal record in relation to her drug use and for assaults on others whilst in care.
Farleys pursued a claim on behalf of Client P against Middlesbrough Council as a result of the failings of their Social Services department after Client P had been taken into their care. Client P had been left with ongoing psychiatric problems. A report from a Consultant Psychiatrist confirmed a Personality Disorder and depression which were likely to affect the Claimant for the rest of her life. Expensive treatment was recommended.
The case presented many difficulties not least the fact that this Claimant would have suffered significant levels of abuse regardless of Social Services failings both prior to and after her leaving the care system. A significant amount of investigatory work was carried out by Farleys obtaining and reviewing all relevant Social Services records, medical records and educational records. Leading Abuse Barrister Justin Levinson was retained to act on the Claimant’s behalf and at a Joint Settlement Meeting damages were agreed in the sum of £100,000 to compensate the Claimant for the failings of the Local Authority during her childhood.
Commenting on the case the partner who acted on behalf of Client P, Jonathan Bridge, stated
“The case of Client P is sadly typical of many of the abuse claims we are presently dealing with. She was badly let down by the Local Authority and as a result suffered sexual abuse when she was at her most vulnerable. The impact of this abuse is lifelong. The settlement we have achieved for Client P will certainly not make up for what she has been through but will help her fund treatment which may give her a better future.”
Farleys solicitors believe that there will be many more victims with similar backgrounds to Client P. There have recently been various operations in the Cleveland area by the Police including Operation Sponge, Operation Fibre, Operation Grenadier, Operation Destiny and Operation Safestay all of which related to potential abuse in the Cleveland and Middlesbrough area. In the year between September 2014 and August 2015 Cleveland Police’s Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT) executed 53 search warrants and arrested 86 suspects charging offenders with 54 separate offences resulting in safeguarding action being taken in relation to 95 children. This is not only an historic problem but an ongoing issue in many of our cities.
If you wish to speak in confidence about any aspect arising from abuse with a solicitor from our specialist department please contact us.