Child Abuse

A Child's Music Teacher

We successfully acted for a young man, abused in childhood, recovering over £100,000 in compensation, from those responsible for the assaults.

A primary school age boy, from Bedfordshire, was sexually abused over a number of years by a music teacher, both at the school, where the child attended, and at the paedophile’s own home. In order to lure the boy into his home the abuser not only groomed the child but also his mother, gaining her trust and confidence. The teacher exploited the mother’s trust.. The façade of friendship covered up a wicked intent, which the abuser used to meet his own sexual desires. The assaults, over a long period of time, were distressing and, ultimately, caused significant harm to this child.

Such was the power and control of the paedophile over the child that even when given an opportunity to reveal that he had been abused, the child felt unable to do so. It was only later that he had sufficient courage to disclose what had happened to him, following which the abuser was arrested and put on trial.

At arrest the abuser denied what he had done and thus forced this young man (at the time of the criminal trial) to relive the horror of the abuse in court, having to tell his story as to what had happened to him.     He showed immense courage and bravery in the face of a callous and brutal man who cared nothing for his victim. He gave a powerful testimony as to what had happened to him and the jury found the abuser guilty of many counts. At a subsequent sentencing hearing the abuser was handed down a prison sentence of over 15 years.

Immediately upon the abuser being sent to prison we were contacted by the victim and his family as they wished to pursue a claim for compensation, to obtain justice.

Therefore, we proactively pursued the claim, against both the abuser and the school, as the school were responsible for the actions of the music teacher.

Full details of the harm was obtained from the police and the evidence given at the criminal trial. We also obtained expert medical evidence to understand and prove the long-term harmful effect of the abuse which our client had suffered.   With such medical evidence from a consultant psychiatrist we were able to formulate a detailed claim for compensation.

We began legal proceedings against the music teacher and the school/local authority, who were responsible for the teacher's actions, albeit unknown to them at the time the abuse was being carried out.     The abuser, from prison, did not actively respond to the claim although the local authority did. They initially denied legal responsibility, attempting to wriggle out of all the possibility as they had no desire to accept the child abuse compensation claim.

We were able to overcome a number of legal arguments and obstacles, to succeed, in obtaining compensation for our client. Although here are time limits for bringing such child abuse compensation claims, we were able to successfully argue that the claim justified compensation being paid by the local authority.         

We presented a strong case, not only as to the harm done at the time of the sexual abuse, but the consequences upon our client’s schooling, work and future prospects.

Although the insurers, representing the local authority (employing the schoolteacher) maintained a formal defence, denying legal responsibility for the sexual assaults, they nevertheless indicated a desire to find an amicable resolution to the claim, rather than face a trial in which, in our view, they were likely to be found legally liable and thus have to pay compensation.

Therefore, the decision by the local authority to enter into sensible negotiations was a recognition, on their part, of the difficulties they faced.    We held a meeting with the local authority's solicitors and insurers, which ultimately led to a substantial settlement of over £100,000 for this young man, which will hopefully enable him to obtain private medical treatment to help him to address the continuing effects of the abuse, to learn work skills and to enter the job market.    It is noteworthy that the medical evidence showed that, notwithstanding the harm done to this young man as a child, he possessed the skills to do well in life. Importantly, he benefited from a supportive family.

Although no amount of money can make up for the harm caused to a child or the impact on a young person's education, compensation can be used to address the continuing mental health issues arising from abuse and to rebuild a life so that the survivor of these terrible events is able to look forward, to a brighter future, and not be burdened by the horrors of the past.

The satisfactory conclusion to this case is that our client receives substantial compensation to allow him to rebuild his life, the abuser living out his days in jail.

Malcolm Underhill