Can I make a local authority abuse claim?
Claims against local authority operated homes and establishments
Local authorities have a legal duty to protect those in its care. If a local authority fails to protect vulnerable people then it can become legally responsible for the consequences and this includes an obligation to pay compensation to those who it lets down.
Unfortunately many local authorities have faced criticism for failing to offer adequate protection and a number of scandals have recently been investigated, including the truly horrific and wide-scale abuse of children in the care of Lambeth council. Over 700 abuse survivors have made allegations of sexual abuse and Lambeth council has been criticised for employing staff which it knew posed a risk to children and failing to act when complaints were made.
We are assisting with claims against local authorities, including Lambeth, and would be happy to offer guidance in relation to any case that you would like to pursue.
‘Failure to remove’ claims
Child abuse often occurs in the home, behind closed doors. In these cases children are dependent on local authorities, councils and social services to protect them from continuing harm, usually by removing them from the environment in which the risk of abuse is present.
However local authorities do not always act as swiftly as they should. The result is that many children go on to suffer abuse that could otherwise have been avoided. If social services fail to protect a child from harm, we may be able to recover compensation. We are experienced in making a local authority abuse claims for children who have been so badly let down in this way.
In order to make a successful local authority abuse claim we must first establish that the local authority owed a duty of care to the child involved. In order for such a duty of care to exist, there must be evidence that there was some assumption of responsibility by the local authority to protect the child from harm. This means that the local authority must have actually done something or provided some sort of service to the child.
We must also show that the authority knew (or ought to have known) that the child was being abused by someone in the family home. The authority should make enquiries and investigate these situations to enable them to decide whether they need to take action. Vulnerable children are often abused by perpetrators of abuse who are already known to the authorities. Many abusers have a history and the local authority should take this into account. If the authority fails to take steps to protect a child at risk after assuming responsibility for that child in some way, then compensation may be available.
Our specialist lawyers will therefore be happy to review your case and let you know whether you may be entitled to make a local authority abuse claim for ‘failure to remove’.
Foster care claims
We can also assist where children have been abused by their foster carers. In 2017 the courts said that local councils were responsible for abuse carried out by foster carers and are legally responsible for that abuse. This means that if you were abused while in foster care you will be entitled to make a compensation claim against the council. You can read case studies of successful foster care abuse claims we have made here and here.
Call our confidential helpline for a free case assessment
If you have been abused or neglected in the family home as a consequence of social service’s failure to remove or protect you, or if you were abused by a foster carer, then contact us now for free initial legal guidance in the strictest confidence.
For a FREE and confidential assessment of your local authority abuse claim call our specialist lawyers on FREEPHONE 0808 139 1597 or email us at [email protected]