Child abuse claims
A former Chairman of a British police authority has been charged with more than 14 offences of child abuse, after a year long police enquiry by North Yorkshire Police, on behalf of Humberside Police. The child abuse claims relate to allegations by a former resident of a children's home in Hull, where the accused was employed as a Social Worker during the 1980s.
For those victims of the alleged abuse there are a number of legal consequences. Prosecution in the criminal Courts is already being pursued by the North Yorkshire Police. However, if the abuse is confirmed to have occurred, it is also open to a victim to seek compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (as a victim of a crime) or by way of a common law claim in negligence. A common law civil claim enables a victim to seek compensation from the abuser, or the organisation or authority responsible for that person (for example, the local authority or employer).
Damages in a successful civil law claim may be awarded to compensate for abuse suffered and any ongoing psychological effects. It is also possible to claim for loss of earnings or the cost of any therapy.
Like many child abuse claims, a key issue is that of applicable time limits (the limitation period). For child abuse claims like this, Court proceedings must be commenced within 3 years from the date that an individual became aware of a potential claim, or within 3 years after the individual turns 18. However, delay in bringing a claim is sometimes accepted by the Courts as an understandable feature of many historic child abuse cases, and the Courts are now coming to better understand the nature of abuse and the reasons for victims silence and unwillingness to come forward.
Determining the limitation period if often a complex process and seeking advice from a specialist Lawyer is the best way to find out what your rights are and whether or not you can pursue a claim.
Can we help? If you or someone you know has been involved in a similar matter please visit our child abuse claims section to see how we can help you.