Child Abuse in Children’s Homes

Children in care are among the most vulnerable people in society. Whether they are in care permanently, or for a short period of time, the homes they are placed in have a duty to look after them and ensure they are safe.

This doesn’t always happen and, in some circumstances, these children become victims of abuse, causing long-term, life-changing harm.

Our team of specialist solicitors can help you win compensation if you or your child has suffered abuse in a care home. We have experience of winning many child abuse cases and have recovered millions of pounds in compensation to help survivors overcome these experiences.

We have experience of winning many child abuse cases on behalf of children abused in care homes and have recovered millions of pounds in compensation to help survivors overcome their experiences. We work on a no-win, no-fee basis and aim to secure justice for you. It is also possible to claim compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). Please contact us now for more information.

What is child abuse?

Child abuse can take different forms. It can be:

  • Sexual, physical and/or emotional
  • Carried out by a person in a position of trust, such as a staff member at the home
  • Carried out by another child

If you or your child suffered abuse within a care home, or you suspect abuse, then you should report this to the police immediately. Specialist child protection officers can visit you at home or in an alternative safe place. Victim support services are also available.

If you would like to know more about reporting or disclosing child abuse read our guide. Or, contact us now and one of our specialist solicitors will give you free advice.

Making a claim

If you were abused as a child, you may wish to bring a case against the individual who committed the acts of abuse. It is also possible to bring a case against the children’s home itself because the people who employed that member of staff also have a duty of responsibility.

The employer will vary according to the type of children’s home. If it is privately owned, you can bring the case against the company or individuals who own it. If it is state-owned, it is run by the local authority and the claim can be brought against the relevant authority.

Bringing a claim against the organisation that owns the home may be a preferred option, as these organisations are often insured against these claims.

Vicarious liability

We can rely on the principle of vicarious liability to establish that the organisation who owned the care home is responsible. This is the principle that an employer is responsible for employees’ actions carried out during their employment.

In the case of abuse at a children’s home, we will help you show that the abuser used their position to commit the acts of abuse. We will do this by obtaining all the necessary evidence such as statements, reports, records and expert evidence to show how the abuser used their position to abuse you.

Can I claim for negligence?

It is also possible to bring a case against the organisation that owned the care home. If the organisation knew or should have known that the abuse was going on, or failed to intervene, then it can be held to have been negligent. For example, if you told another member of staff about the abuse and they failed to act, or if the abuser had been previously convicted of similar offences, this would be classed as negligent behaviour.

Time limitations

Strictly speaking, a claim for child abuse should be brought by your 21st birthday. However, the courts have recognized that it can often take child abuse survivors a long time to report the abuse they suffered and bring a claim for the harm it caused. Often this is because survivors may feel ashamed or embarrassed by what has happened.

Because of this, the courts have the ability to waive the time limit and allow survivors to bring a claim, even if the claim is brought many years later. Bolt Burdon Kemp’s team of specialist solicitors will gather all the necessary evidence to help persuade the court to waive the time limit. We have experience of winning cases that have been brought more than 40 years outside of the time limit.

How we work with you

Our team of specialist solicitors can help you in many ways. You can choose if your solicitor is male or female and speak to them at any time. We understand exactly how difficult it can be to open up about these extremely traumatizing experiences, and you can be sure that we will work tirelessly to win compensation on your behalf so you can move on with your life.

Success stories

  • We acted for Mr A who was sexually abused between the ages of 12 and 15 by a local authority support and care worker in Cardiff in the 1990s. Mr A complained to the police and the manager, Geoffrey Morris, was convicted in 1996. Cardiff City Council initially denied liability for the claim; however, we were able to secure the evidence required to win his case. We secured £100,000 compensation for Mr A
  • We acted for a number of clients who were abused at the St Leonard’s Cottage Homes in Tower Hamlets between 1961 and 1984. We recovered £200,000 in compensation for our clients
  • We acted for B, who was sexually abused by the swimming instructor at his care home in Lambeth during the 1970s. We secured a settlement of £65,000 compensation