Child abuse solicitors at Irwin Mitchell represented a young woman, Sarah, who suffered very severe abuse from her parents before she was taken into care at the age of two.
She was placed in a foster family with her older brother and he continued the abuse. The local authority knew that the children continued to exhibit sexualised behaviour, but did not intervene. Instead they justified the children being placed together and didn’t separate them until she was 10. Sarah was also sexually abused by the adoptive son of one of her foster families. She wasn’t considered for adoption until it was too late and ended up in over 30 placements, resulting in a fractured childhood.
The local authority denied fault and so Irwin Mitchell issued proceedings in the High Court. In early adulthood, Sarah developed a psychotic illness, became involved with drugs and prostitution, got into trouble with the police and ended up in a psychiatric hospital. We secured a financial settlement of the claim which was approved by the High Court. We then made an application to the Court of Protection to help Sarah manage her award and avoid exploitation.
Settlement of the case coincided with Sarah being released from hospital. She intends to use the money to re-establish herself in the community and to make a fresh start when she leaves supported housing.
Irwin Mitchell’s Court of Protection team, who specialise in representing people lacking capacity, provided support and advice throughout the case. The Official Solicitor acted as Sarah’s Litigation Friend during the proceedings.
Tracey Storey, a child abuse solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, represented Sarah. She said: “Sarah was a child in need of protection. Instead, she was moved from pillar to post and suffered horrible abuse. The mistakes of the local authority rendered her unadoptable and she now has lifelong difficulties. I really hope that Sarah can use her compensation to re-establish herself in the community and rebuild her life.”
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