Sexual and Physical Abuse Claims

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The Ultimate Betrayal

View profile for Malcolm Underhill
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There is no greater betrayal to a child than an abusive parent.  The one person who is supposed to love and protect you, not only fails to perform this fundamental parental task, but is the deliberate cause of harm.

According to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NCPCC), there are currently over 57,000 children who are identified as needing protection from abuse in the UK today.  But for every one of these children, a further eight are suffering from abuse but are not on the authorities’ radar[1].

One in 14 children have been physically abused, whilst reports of sexual abuse have increased sharply over the last few years, with 90% of victims being abused by someone they know[2].

Can you sue your parent/s for child abuse?

It is possible to claim compensation from not only the abusive parent, but the parent who failed to stop the abuse.  For example, in 2010, a 32-year-old man sued his mother for £50,000 in damages.  He claimed that she was negligent and breached her duty of care because she failed to protect him from beatings from his father over a period of years.  The man and his siblings had already successfully claimed compensation from their father[3].

The claimant told the court his father was a “tormentor” and a “bully” who would attack him up to 10 times a day. From the age of five, he said, he was routinely hit with a variety of household objects, including a belt, an electrical cable, a hairbrush and a cane.

He argued that his mother had a duty to take reasonable steps to protect her children from harm, for example, obtaining an injunction to keep her husband away from the house.

Suing a local authority for failing to protect you from your abusive parents

If a local authority failed in their duty of care to protect you, then you may be able to bring a claim for compensation against them.  For example, if you or a friend or relative reported abuse or neglect to social workers, and the allegations were ignored, or not adequately followed up, then a claim for damages can be brought.

Limitations on claiming compensation

Under the Limitation Act 1980, a claimant has three years to bring a claim for negligence. However, the Courts do have a wide discretion when it comes to cases involving abuse which has occurred in childhood. 

For a Court to allow a case to proceed out of time, it has to consider the effect this will have on both a claimant and defendant.  It will take into consideration whether the lapse of time will mean a fair trial can be achieved, if there is sufficient evidence/witnesses available and the reason for the delay.

It is widely accepted that it can take victims of childhood abuse many years to garner the courage to face their abuser.  With experienced, sensitive legal representation, a strong case can be made for bringing a claim for compensation.

How compensation can help

Money can never replace a stolen childhood, or a bond with a parent, something that every child deserves and needs.  It can however assist with paying for professional counselling and other support required so you can rebuild your life and look forward to a more positive future.

At IBB, our abuse and personal injury team, led by Malcolm Underhill, has the expertise and knowledge to advise and represent those who have suffered physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse and wish to claim compensation.

To talk about how we might be able to help, please phone us on 0333 123 9099, email us at  or fill in our contact form.  Any discussions you have with us will be in the strictest of confidence


[2] Ibid


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