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Defendant who had been acquitted of abuse ordered to pay damages

22 February 2011

Organisations working with children and vulnerable adults will always be at risk of claims arising out of allegations of abuse.  Unlike most personal injury claims, these can be hanging around for tens of years afterwards.   An acquittal of the alleged abuser will not always close the book on these.  On the 17 February 2011, Mrs Justice Slade DBE allowed a woman in her late 20s to bring a claim concerning relatively minor sexual abuse against her abuser.  The judge found:-

  • Although the criminal court had found the abuser not guilty in September 2006, she was entitled to find in her civil court that, on the balance of probabilities the alleged abuse had taken place and had caused the claimant injury
  • She would exercise her discretion to allow the claim to proceed out of time
  • The claimant was entitled to £32,293 damages and interest

If you are a care, health or education provider expect to see this case cited in claims for vicarious liability for the abusive actions of your staff.

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