Claiming compensation for sex abuse in children’s homes
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There has been extensive coverage in the media regarding historic sexual abuse in children’s homes throughout the UK. In North Wales Operation Pallial was set up by the National Crime Agency to look into allegations. One of the children’s homes involved is Bryn Estyn, near Wrexham in North Wales, where instances of serious abuse have been reported. Our abuse team, has extensive experience of dealing with these cases and have achieved a number of successful results for several men who suffered abuse during their time at Bryn Estyn. One such claim has recently been resolved with a compensation package having been negotiated after we fought his case on a No Win – No Fee basis.
The details of the case were quite typical of this type of claim and bore a great deal of similarity to other cases involving sex abuse in children’s homes that we have dealt with. After getting into trouble with the Police as a young boy, our client was sent to Bryn Estyn. It was hoped the strict routine and residential setting would support his development and ensure he did not engage in criminal activity as an adult. However, our client was seriously let down by the system. Rather than receiving help and support at the home he suffered sexual abuse at the hands of the very staff who were employed to look after him. During his time in Bryn Estyn, the client was sexually assaulted by Peter Howarth and Stephen Norris. The former deputy head of the school, Peter Howarth, was imprisoned in the 1990s for sexually abusing a number of boys in his care at Bryn Estyn. Stephen Norris regularly sexually assaulted the our client as he lay in bed at night.
Like many people who have experienced sexual abuse our client didn’t initially do anything about it. Unfortunately the law imposes very tight time limits for making a compensation claim and once the basic time period for claiming has run out it a case has to be made for extending the period. So by the time we were consulted our client was already many years out of time for bringing a claim. We nevertheless felt that we might still be able to achieve a successful outcome for him regardless of the delay. This is because the law recognises the difficulties that abuse victims face in confronting issues and can make allowance for this by extending the deadlines in cases of historic sex abuse. The outcome proved that we were right.
Having agreed to take the case on under a no win, no fee agreement we set about gathering key evidence, including Police records and medical records. We also made arrangements for a specialist psychiatric expert to prepare a report dealing with the effects of the abuse on the Claimant. All of this evidence helped us to put together a strong case. As often happens in these cases the defendants wanted to enter into negotiations and an out of court settlement was eventually reached.
The compensation paid to our client won’t turn back the clock, but it was very welcome and it means he can now try to put this period of his life behind him. Commenting upon the case, the lead lawyer in our team said:
“I have dealt with several claims involving abuse at Bryn Estyn children’s home in North Wales. I am very familiar with the culture and atmosphere of the school. It continues to sadden me that those employed to provide these vulnerable young boys with support, education and guidance grossly abused their position of trust. However, I hope that by achieving a successful outcome our client will be able to look towards a positive future”.