How refreshing – a defendant recognising the family of abuse survivors need help too
Common sense dictates that the abuse of a child has far reaching consequences for not only the person who is abused but their family and friends also.
The law as it stands does not take into account these consequences. It does not take into account that an apology to an individual who has had suffered sexual abuse is important. We know the importance of an apology which is why we always ask for an apology from a defendant as part of settlement if a client requests this. However, we cannot guarantee that an apology will be forthcoming. As it is not required by law, the defendant has no obligation to apologise. And some do not. Despite the fact that this often causes further distress to a survivor.
Bolt Burdon Kemp also know the importance of recognising the support a family may need when they learn of the abuse their loved one has suffered. We also know the importance of recognising the ongoing support a family needs when a loved one who has suffered abuse is having a difficult period.
Most defendants do not want to pay for the much needed family support provided to our clients. Given that the law is not on our side, it is not something we can force defendants to pay.
However, for the first time known not only to myself but also to the whole abuse team at Bolt Burdon Kemp (a team of 16 solicitors who have been doing this work for longer than some may care to remember), a defendant has acknowledged the need of family support in pounds and pence.
Myles Bradbury was a paedophile employed by Addenbrookes Hospital. He used his position as a paediatric consultant to prey on a huge number of children and abuse them. It is thought that those who were abused have not all yet come forward.
In my opinion, claims for compensation from survivors of Bradbury have been dealt with in the most sensible manner I have ever witnessed.
Solicitors for the hospital have attempted to reach sensible agreements about the value of claims as quickly as possible. This is so important. Litigation is not easy. Compensation is not a lottery win. Claims that can be settled quickly should be. However, some defendants do not see this. To them I say, take note of the hospital’s wise approach.
More importantly, the hospital has made a payment to the family of Bradbury’s survivors. When making the payment the hospital expressly stated the payment was to recognise the impact of Bradbury’s actions upon the family as a whole. The purpose of the payment was to perhaps ensure the family receive counselling privately or take a holiday to spend quality time together.
To my knowledge, this is a first. Whilst Bradbury’s actions can never be reversed, the acknowledgement of the impact of his actions upon families is important.
I hope that in a year’s time, I will not need to write this blog again about another one-off payment from a sensible defendant. That this, may be the first payment to families but it is the first of many. I will keep advancing these claims. Defendants, do the right thing. Accept these claims.
Siobhan Crawford is an associate solicitor in the Abuse team at Bolt Burdon Kemp. If you feel you may have a claim or are enquiring on behalf of a loved one, contact Siobhan free of charge and in confidence on 020 7288 4886 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, complete this form and one of the solicitors in the Abuse team will contact you. Find out more about the Abuse team.