Irwin Mitchell’s child abuse solicitors negotiated a five-figure sum for a man abused by a care worker while at an assessment centre.
Our client, Jay, was 11 when he was sent by a juvenile court to an assessment centre in 1976 under the care of the local authority. While at the assessment centre he was groomed and sexually abused by a care worker. The abuse took place at the care worker’s home and at the centre, and lasted approximately one year. Jay tried to report it but wasn’t believed.
He was then transferred to a community home in 1978, where he was still under the care of the local authority. He was vulnerable and was sexually abused by another care worker employed at the home.
Jay’s offending continued into his teenage years, and from 1984 onwards he was in detention regularly. From 1985 to 1994 he was on the run from the police, having committed armed robbery. During this time Jay tried to find his abusers so he could confront them. He located the first care worker, who had continued to work with children.
In 1995 Jay was arrested for his crimes. He was able to report the abuse to the police and they undertook an investigation. He received a custodial sentence which was then reduced, as he’d reformed while on the run.
The police arrested the first abuser but the second perpetrator had died. He was convicted of indecent assault on a male under 14 years of age. After his release from prison the abuser moved abroad and was placed on the Sex Offenders Register.
Jay tried to gain access to his files and an apology from the local authority for what had happened to him in their care. He received his social services records in 2010 and, on review of the files, wrote to the local authority for an explanation. He received a response from their solicitor and then contacted Irwin Mitchell, providing us with his social services records and instructions.
We advised Jay that he had a good case against the local authority, as they had employed the abuser. However, we also told him that the claim could fail due to the delay in him proceeding with the case.
We requested a copy of his police file and wrote to the local authority, who attempted to argue that the abuser wasn’t employed by them. After asking a medical expert to assess Jay, we prepared a document setting out his losses associated with the abuse and any treatment and rehabilitation that may benefit him.
Our solicitors sent Jay’s evidence to the local authority’s solicitors. They made an offer to settle the claim for £10,000. We told our client that it was too low and advised him to proceed with his own counter offer which wasn’t accepted by the local authority.
We issued proceedings in the High Court. The local authority wanted more information and put questions to Jay that we were able to help him answer. We invited the local authority to enter into negotiations and at a settlement meeting we agreed an award of £25,000.
Natasha Fairs, a solicitor in Irwin Mitchell’s Child Abuse team, represented Jay. She said: "Despite the difficulties with his claim we were able to secure compensation for Jay. He had spent many years trying to get answers from the local authority but failed. It took solicitors becoming involved with the claim for them to consider his allegations and respond. We were able to secure compensation which allows Jay to attempt to get some closure.”
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