Abuse specialist Rachel Thain reports on a successful compensation claim where we were able to overcome legal problems relating to the claimant’s delay in bringing his case
We have recently negotiated the settlement of a compensation claim involving serious sexual abuse suffered by our client from the age of eight years at the hands of his primary school teacher.
The teacher was convicted of sexual offences against boys at the school and was given a custodial sentence. However, as is common in these cases, our client never formally reported the abuse he suffered, either to the School or the police.
The claim against the local authority responsible for the school was therefore approximately 13 years out of time. The delay in bringing the claim also meant there was a significant lack of evidence. As a result, limitation was a serious issue in this case and there was no evidence available to corroborate our client’s version of events. There was no mention of the abuse in our client’s medical records as he had never sought any treatment for the abuse suffered.
Nevertheless, we agreed to take the case on and to deal with the claim on a No Win, No Fee basis. This meant that there was no financial risk to our client in pursuing the matter.
Liability was initially denied by the local authority. Their denial of liability wasn’t unexpected, but we knew that the scandal had been widely reported in the local press at the time and compensation claims from other victims had been settled shortly after the criminal conviction in the 1990s.
It was therefore necessary to consider ways in which our client’s witness evidence could be strengthened by providing information that would demonstrate his allegations were genuine and not based upon public records or what had been printed in the local press. As some of the abuse had taken place at the teacher's home, we arranged for our client to provide an extensive and detailed description of the inside of the teacher's house. This information was disclosed to the Defendant in the form of a witness statement. The Defendant appreciated that such information was consistent with our client’s allegation that he had suffered abuse at the teacher’s home.
Due to the compelling and detailed nature of the statement, the Defendants were willing to enter into settlement negotiations and we were ultimately successful in securing a substantial 5 figure compensation award for our client.
This case demonstrates that whilst delay in bringing a claim can cause legal difficulties it is never too late for victims of sex abuse to seek justice and recover the compensation they deserve.
For further information about claiming compensation for historic sex abuse and details of our No Win, No Fee funding scheme call us on FREEPHONE 0333 888 0445