As a teenage girl our client would spend some of her school holidays with her aunt and uncle. To begin with these visits to her relatives were perfectly normal, but unfortunately, after a while, the uncle forced himself upon his niece and carried out sexual acts upon the young teenage girl. Those acts would take place in the uncle’s home, sometimes with the auntie in the house, and on other occasions at the uncle’s place of work. She could not resist the power and control this man, but ultimately was able to speak to one of her peers. She was ultimately able to find excuses not to visit her auntie and uncle.
However, the harm had been done: she had been subjected to regular and frequent assaults when she visited her uncle. As a consequence of this, her education suffered. She played truancy and became known to the local police. When she finally left school, she was in and out of work and spent a brief time abroad. She returned, but was not able to find and hold down secure employment.
She was drinking alcohol from a young age and also took recreational drugs. Her capacity to form safe and stable relationships was also impeded, because of the abuse.
Many years after the abuse stopped, she became angry and wanted to confront the uncle. However, this was not easy, emotionally, particularly as she still had feelings for her auntie. She finally found the courage to talk about her teenage years and by the time she formally reported the allegations of abuse to the police, her auntie had died. The police proceeded to conduct enquiries and having done so were ready to confront the paedophile. Unfortunately, shortly before they were due to do so, the uncle died of natural causes.
As a consequence, the police investigation came to a halt and their file was closed. However, this lady came to IBB Solicitors and sought advice, as she wanted to be heard and to have some form of redress, even though her uncle was now dead.
We were able to act quickly, and immediately set about investigating the family, the uncle and the financial assets that the uncle may have held up until the time of death. We obtained a copy of the will of the uncle and details of those responsible for distributing his assets, following death. We put the executors of the estate on notice of the claim and obtained an undertaking that they would take no steps to distribute the uncle’s estate, pending the outcome of the claim for compensation from the uncle.
Solicitors were appointed to act on behalf of those promised significant monies from the uncle’s estate. Those expecting to receive substantial sums from the estate resisted the claim for compensation on the basis that the uncle was dead, he had never admitted to acts of abuse and, indeed, no allegations had ever been put to him during his lifetime. The allegations of abuse were not accepted. Furthermore, it was said that as the assaults occurred so long ago it would be unfair to entertain this lady’s claim decades after she says she was abused.
Nevertheless, we were able to persuade those who were due to benefit from the estate that our client was likely to succeed in legal proceedings brought against the uncle’s estate.
Evidence was obtained that would support the claim, including evidence from the police. We were able to obtain evidence from the client’s partner about the uncle. To understand the impact of the assaults on our client’s mental health, her family and working life, a report from a consultant psychiatrist was obtained. This detailed examination of our client provided a diagnosis, recommendations for treatment and prognosis.
Negotiations took place and an acceptable level of monetary compensation was agreed upon, to be paid out of the uncle’s estate. Our client was delighted with the outcome, having thought all was lost following the death of the abuser.
Our client was appreciative of the support and help we provided. She said:
At probably the hardest time in my life, Malcolm made this a lot more bearable; he kept me informed throughout the whole process and made me feel reassured throughout.
I would highly recommend IBB Solicitors: their service and understanding is something rare (in) this day and age.
This case highlights the importance of seeking legal advice as soon as practically possible, as delay can result in you losing any entitlement to compensation, even when you have a good case. There are general time limits to bring claims for child-abuse compensation and these are frequently used by those acting on behalf of the abuser, in an attempt to defeat legitimate claims for compensation. Therefore, it is essential to seek legal advice at the earliest possible date and not wait for any police investigation or the outcome of a criminal prosecution to run its course, whatever the police or Crown Prosecution Service may say.
Furthermore, in this case, it was possible to stop the distribution of the paedophile’s estate, following his death. If the estate had already been distributed by the time a claim is made, then the claim for compensation may have been too late, as the deceased’s assets would no longer be available to be pursued as compensation. Our client may have been a matter of weeks away from losing her compensation.
This case also illustrates that even when the abuser has died it may be possible to bring a claim for child-abuse compensation. However, to emphasise a final time, do not delay, as such delay may snuff out any claims.
Contact our child abuse compensation experts today
If you would like further information on how to obtain compensation for child sexual abuse-current or historic, contact our abuse compensation experts today. To discuss your situation in a safe, sensitive way and find out more about your options, please call 0333 123 9099 or contact Malcolm Underhill directly by email at malcolm.Underhill@ibbclaims.co.uk