I was instructed by a 41 year old sales executive in respect of sexual abuse he had suffered as a child at the hands of a woodwork teacher.
The victim of this abuse had been reluctant to talk to anyone about the abuse but had been persuaded by a family member, who suggested that something should be done, both to address the suffering experienced over many years, as well as action being taken against the alleged paedophile.
Prior to the meeting which followed the victim had not spoken about his childhood experiences for about 30 years.
When I first met the victim he was uncertain about taking any action, but eventually decided he would like to talk to the police about the assaults upon him. He was convinced that he was the only victim of abuse by his secondary school teacher in west London. Furthermore, he doubted that he would be believed. He later realised how empathetic the police were and treated him accordingly.
Once he had given a statement to the police, the latter made inquiries and reported to my client that the abuser was already under investigation by the police, in another part of the country. I therefore liaised with both police forces, to understand the nature and extent of the allegations being made and the offences with which the alleged paedophile was being charged.
Further, a claim for compensation, to include monies to allow the victim of abuse to obtain private medical treatment was pursued ,against the local authority that employed the teacher at the local school, as well as the paedophile. The allegations against the school were not admitted and thus it became necessary to commence civil proceedings, against the alleged abuser, school and local authority. No admissions about the assaults of sexual abuse were made so the case continued with the court setting a trial date for the case against the three defendants to be heard.
In the meantime, the alleged paedophile stood trial in two criminal courts, for offences committed in separate schools. During that process my client was strongly supported by the police, as they kept him closely informed of developments. Unfortunately for the victim the alleged paedophile was acquitted in both courts. Notwithstanding this outcome the civil claim continued, where the standard of proof of the allegations made of abuse is lower. Pressure was applied to the defendants in the civil procedure and shortly before the trial, negotiations were conducted with the lawyers acting for the education authority. This led to a financial compromise being agreed, avoiding the need for my client having to relive the abuse in a public court. Justice was achieved.
Although my client was disappointed to see his abuser acquitted he was pleased that he had been given an opportunity to say in open court what had happened to him. The abuser had to face my client’s account of what happened all those years ago and answer for his actions.
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