Irwin Mitchell represented four girls from the same family who had each suffered horrendous abuse (including sexual abuse) from a man who was the father of three of them. They also suffered physical and emotional abuse from their mother.
We brought a professional negligence claim against their local authority for failing to protect our clients from abuse. The children were represented by the Official Solicitor as Litigation Friend. The family had been known to social services from before the date that the oldest child was born. When she was eight, the oldest child had made serious allegations against her stepfather, including that she had been raped by him.
Having made these allegations and been interviewed on video, she was then confronted by her mother who said that she didn’t believe her. The child retracted her allegations and the local authority didn’t take matters further. The file was closed and all four children remained in the household with the father/stepfather.
After further worrying events the oldest child was removed but her sisters remained in the family home for a longer period.
The cases were funded with legal aid and were issued in the High Court. The local authority denied liability but the cases were settled at a without prejudice meeting between the parties. The girls were awarded between £65,000 and £25,000 in each case. Subsequently, the Court approved the awards and the eldest child (who was 18 by this point) had her compensation placed in a personal injury trust. She received advice and assistance from Irwin Mitchell’s Court of Protection and Trust Team in this regard.
Solicitor Tracey Storey represented the girls. She said: “Safeguarding children is difficult and complex, but when a child speaks out it is important that professionals listen and investigate. In these cases, the oldest child was not listened to and she and her sisters went on to suffer further abuse, which could have been avoided.
“I hope that the girls can now move on with their lives and put the early abuse behind them. Hopefully, the professionals involved have learned important lessons from these cases.”
Back to Client Story