Luke Daniels, head of our Child Abuse team in Birmingham, has secured significant settlements and an apology for a family group who suffered years of prolonged abuse.
Due to concerns that had already been raised regarding their other children from previous relationships, the parents of our three clients were known to social services prior to the birth of our eldest client, Sarah. Her father was reported to have sexually abused one of his older daughters and a family friend.
Failure to thrive
Sarah was placed on the Child Protection Register from birth as were her siblings, Louise and Brendan. Throughout their childhoods, all three of our clients failed to thrive and would show up with bruising and head lice at school. Despite numerous referrals from the school and other professional bodies, the Local Authority took the decision to remove their names from the Child Protection Register.
Concerns continued to be raised and, after a home visit by social services, Sarah revealed that she was locked away in cupboards and that all three siblings were prevented from attending school. Oddly enough the local authority decided to close the case.
The local authority continued to receive referrals in relation to this family, spanning from issues of neglect to allegations of sexual abuse.
All three children remained in the family home until April 2010 when Sarah, 17 at the time, disclosed sexual abuse by her father on a weekly basis from the age of 10. After further investigations by the police, they discovered that their father had sexually abused Sarah and Louise over a prolonged period. He was handed a significant custodial sentence.
The judge presiding over care proceedings was heavily critical of the Local Authority.
We helped Sarah, Louise and Brendan to make a claim against the Local Authority for the assaults themselves and also the obvious psychiatric consequences that resulted from them. We also requested that the Local Authority issue our clients with a full and frank apology, which they were happy to oblige with.
The final sums, agreed between the parties at a settlement meeting, totalled nearly £500,000. We liaised with our Court of Protection team to manage the investment of part of this fund and to provide financial assistance throughout our clients’ adult lives.
Luke Daniels commented: “Bringing this case against the local authority for three very deserving young people has helped them all to achieve a degree of closure. They were able to hold the professional body to account who had grossly failed in providing them the care they were entitled to receive.”
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