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Compensation For Young Woman After Failings Of Local Authorities

Irwin Mitchell’s child abuse lawyers brought successful claims against both Gateshead Council and Peterborough City Council, who had failed to initiate the appropriate care proceedings for our client.


Our client, Georgina, was born in 1990 and lived with her parents and siblings in Gateshead. The family were known to social services before 1990, as concerns had been raised over the parents’ care of their older children who were eventually removed by Gateshead. However, Georgina and her younger sister remained with the family.

In 1998, the family moved to Peterborough. Not long afterwards, referrals were made to social services with continued concerns over domestic violence and alcoholism in the family, persistent truancy and the sexual exploitation of our client by asylum seekers.

Failure To Provide Care

Further complaints and referrals were made to social services in the years that followed. Repeated attempts to rehabilitate the family failed, largely because of the alcoholism and lack of co-operation from Georgina’s parents. Levels of physical and emotional violence in the family escalated. Although she was placed on the Child Protection Register, Georgina remained in her parents’ care where standards of supervision and affection were abject.

Georgina and her sister were eventually removed from the care of their parents in 2005.

The children’s guardian ad litem was particularly critical of the conduct of social services in the care proceedings, and the judge ordered the release of the court files in contemplation of civil proceedings.

How We Helped

We obtained expert social work evidence which supported allegations of negligence against both Gateshead Council and Peterborough City Council for the delay in instigating care proceedings.

Our client had developed severe depression, was prone to self harming and was emotionally vulnerable as a result of the psychological abuse suffered throughout her childhood.

Compensation Awarded

Medical evidence confirmed that she had capacity and with appropriate support, we settled her claim for £30,000, with each defendant agreeing to pay £15,000.

Child abuse solicitor Stephanie Pelling acted for Georgina. She said: “This was an unusual and particularly tragic case where Georgina was failed by two local authorities over a prolonged period, which led to significant psychological and behavioural problems.

“Positively, Georgina is committed to using her compensation to access appropriate treatment and support to enable her to recover from her traumatic adolescence and gain a sense of independence.”

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