Our client was an active member of the Scouts from the age of 10 after moving up from the Cubs. However, it was while he was with the Scouts that he suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a Scout Leader. The Scout Leader would use opportunities to be alone with our client to sexually abuse him. This happened on three occasions over a three year period.
It is not uncommon for sexual abuse to be carried out by predatory paedophiles who hold a position of trust and authority in society, such as, in this case, a scout leader. Children in these situations are particularly vulnerable.
Our client was unable to tell anyone what happened for many years. He suffered with difficulties with his mood from early adulthood, which continued and led to a diagnosis of a long term mental illness. In 2013, our client confided in a friend about the abuse. Much to his surprise his friend admitted to also suffering abuse at the hands of the same Scout Leader. Taking strength from the fact that they had both been abused and were in the same position the men felt empowered to finally act. They reported the matter to the Police and a criminal investigation followed.
It transpired the Scout Leader had abused numerous boys under his care and other abuse victims came forward. Following the Police investigation, the Scout Leader pleaded guilty to offences against our client and other boys. He received a custodial sentence for his sickening crimes.
Once the criminal investigation had concluded, our client approached our specialist abuse team at Slee Blackwell Solicitors for advice. Rachel Thain agreed to assist with a civil claim for compensation against the Scout Association on a no win - no fee basis. Rachel is highly experienced in abuse claims, including claims specifically against the Scout Association. It was because Rachel felt she would be able to achieve a successful outcome that she agreed to take the case on under a no win –no fee agreement.
Rachel began obtaining evidence in support of the legal claim. This included evidence from the Police investigation along with a detailed witness statement from our client. A letter of claim was sent to the Scout Association, advising them of the claim, the circumstances of the abuse and the legal basis for holding the Scout Association responsible. As the abuse was perpetrated by a Scout Leader in the course of his role, the Scout Association was held ‘vicariously liable’ for his criminal actions.
Medical evidence was obtained and Rachel instructed a specialist medical expert to prepare a report. The medical situation was complex, but the expert felt that a significant amount of our client’s difficulties arose as a consequence of the abuse. The solicitors instructed by the Scout Association instructed their own expert who refused to accept the sexual abuse had any material effect on our client.
Negotiations were initially tentative due to the difference of opinion. The Scouts accepted in principle that compensation should be paid, but disputed how much. Nevertheless, Rachel was eventually able to successfully negotiate a settlement which our client was happy with and the claim reached a successful conclusion.
“The medical evidence was complex in this case, resulting in a dispute between the parties regarding the appropriate level of compensation. I endeavoured to advise my client throughout the process and offer him support. I am pleased for my client that his claim reached a successful conclusion without the need to commence Court proceedings. However, if it had come to it, both my client and Slee Blackwell were prepared to take it all the way on a No Win, No Fee basis. The Scouts presumably recognised this and were keen to avoid a trial themselves which would have attracted great publicity as well as significant legal costs.”
If you require confidential legal guidance about sexual abuse involving the scouts or any other institution that serves young people then call our free and confidential helpline on 0808 139 1597. Alternatively you can email Rachel at email@example.com