Rape in the Workplace - Sexual Assault Compensation

Samantha Robson, assault compensation specialist, member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and Partner at Slee Blackwell Solicitors comments on a recent case she dealt with involving rape in the workplace.

Caring for troubled teenagers in a care home environment can be difficult at the best of times. Often they have suffered a traumatic childhood which has left its scars on their personality. It can give them a totally different perspective on life and influence the way they interact with those around them. Typically these youngsters can be very wary of those working with them. Violent and unpredictable behaviour can therefore be the daily norm for their carers. Care workers therefore require a great deal of patience and understanding and working in this environment can be both challenging and rewarding.

Whilst most employers are diligent in ensuring members of staff are not put at personal risk whilst working with teenagers in the care system, sadly this is not always the case. Some employers are not so careful and fail to implement a safe system of work. Staff shortages and financial constraints may well be factors in determining how the safety of employees is assured. Sadly this was the scenario for one of my clients who worked for an organisation caring for troubled teenagers with the aim of helping them to achieve independent living. She found herself in a situation where she was alone and in a confined space with a troubled young man who decided to take advantage of her. There was little or no back up. He broke her mobile phone and she was then subjected to rape and sexual assault before she was eventually able to escape and gain help.

The sad truth of this case is that it would only have taken another member of staff or an alarm system to avoid the sexual assault taking place. Furthermore, her employers failed to ensure that she was made aware of very relevant details of his past behaviour involving female members of staff. No doubt if these steps had been taken she would never have been exposed to what was an extremely traumatic experience. My client is unlikely to ever return to her former occupation. She needed a lengthy period off work to recuperate and underwent specialist counselling. She is now looking to retrain in an alternative career.

We did at least succeed in making a sexual assault compensation claim against her employers. Obviously winning a legal case does not turn back the clock but the sexual assault compensation she has recovered will hopefully help her get her life back on track.

The employers were found to have failed in their duty of care to provide a safe system of work. They exposed my client to a risk of injury which they ought to have known about and were therefore found legally liable for the sexual assault she suffered. She was awarded substantial assault compensation for both her physical and psychological injuries, together with additional assault compensation for her financial losses. The troubled teenager who carried out the sexual assault was subsequently convicted of his offences and given a lengthy prison sentence.

If you, or a member of your family, have suffered a similar experience and would like to speak to me about taking legal action then please call me.