Can I make a local authority abuse claim?

 We look at what is involved in making a local authority abuse claim. Contact us in confidence to find out where you stand.

Child sexual 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 abuse is likely to take place.

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 have failed to protect a child from harm, we may be able to help. We are experienced in making a local authority abuse claim for children who have been so badly let down in this way.

In order to make a successful local authority abuse claim we must be able to 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 authorities should take this into account. If such people are regarded as presenting a risk to children but the authority fails to take steps to protect them then any child suffering abuse may have the right to claim compensation against the authority concerned.

The courts had previously been reluctant to put too much legal responsibility on local authorities in order to avoid defensive decision making in sensitive areas such as social work. But more recently judges have acknowledged that a local authority does have a duty to protect vulnerable children in certain circumstances. 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.

We can also assist where children have been abused by their foster carers. In 2017 the courts said that local councils were 'vicariously liable' for abuse carried out by foster carers. In other words, the council are legally responsible for abuse carried out by foster carers even if the council were not themslves at fault. This means that if you were abused whilst 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 here and here.

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

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