We acted for three men who, when young boys, were sexually assaulted in a residential children’s home. That abuse occurred nearly 40 years ago. The paedophiles had already been convicted and one of them stood trial for a second time during the claim for compensation. As there was a conviction against the paedophiles, it may have appeared to be relatively straightforward, to obtain compensation, but there were other hurdles to overcome.
As with many abuse cases, these claims related to events many years ago and whilst there was a conviction, the individual abusers were not men of means. Therefore, whilst in theory a claim could be pursued against them, there was no point in doing so as they did not have the money to make payment. Therefore any legal action against them was going to be a waste of time and money. Consequently, an alternative person or organisation had to be found, who could meet the claim.
The children’s care home was no longer in existence and therefore appeared to be a dead end. However, the individuals who were responsible for the day to day running of the children’s home and those responsible for managing the home were identified. Claims were initially directed towards the day to day managers, although they were either elderly, of limited means and or denied any knowledge of what was going on at the time. Therefore, the claims were also directed towards those who set up and took responsibility for the home. Although the owning organisation was still in existence, they argued the claims were very old and that due to the passage of time there could not be a meaningful investigation of the claims and thus could not be a fair trial of the claims.
Furthermore, not unusually in such cases, they said they could not identify their liability insurers. This was important as ordinarily their liability insurers would handle such cases (and potentially pay the claims). They said the absence of being able to identify their insurers, because the abuse occurred so long ago and they could not locate their old paperwork, was another good reason for the claims to be rejected by the courts. In short, they argued it was unfair to allow the claims after this length of time.
As a consequence, we embarked upon an extensive and forensic analysis of all the documents from the children’s home, and management records, to find any slither of evidence that may identify the liability insurers, which covered the children’s home for the period in question. Thousands of documents were considered and eventually, after a few false starts, the correct liability insurer was identified. This put our clients in the driving seat and ultimately those representing the organisation and insurers were prepared to enter into negotiations to settle the child abuse compensation claims. We were therefore successful in recovering compensation for all three clients who suffered child sexual abuse.
These cases highlight the importance of bringing a claim as soon as possible. Furthermore, it also shows that even where there is a conviction for sexual abuse, it does not automatically follow that the claim will succeed. There are often other, several, hurdles to overcome, before the survivor of abuse can be awarded compensation for the harm caused.
If you would like more information on how to obtain compensation for child abuse - current or historic, please contact our child abuse lawyers today in confidence. We offer a No-Win No-Fee Agreement so there is no financial risk involved if you are not successful. To discuss your case or to make an appointment please contact us on 0333 123 9099. Alternatively, please email us at email@example.com or complete our online form.