Abuse and social care claims
Nearly all organisations that engage with children in a social care, residential, faith, charitable, sporting, leisure or educational context have seen an unprecedented rise in the number of claims for abuse. Dealing effectively and efficiently with those claims - be they individual instructions or large group actions - and managing their reputational impact, is a key strategic imperative for these organisations.
Our social care team assists insurers, local authorities, faith groups, charities, sports groups, youth groups, schools, independent providers, blue light clients and health providers to manage their historical abuse and failure to remove claims. These encompass Human Rights, Deprivation of Liberty, and child sexual exploitation claims. We give pragmatic, inclusive, sensitive and practical advice, grounded in our expert knowledge of the sector, which is why we’re chosen and trusted by principal insurers and their insureds that face such claims.
Our practice spans the whole range of social care issues from subject access requests to serious case reviews, from safeguarding policies to public and private inquiries. We frequently advise as to how to manage concerns and complaints. Our national, specialist team works with our specialist health and education advisory teams to provide truly joined up expertise.
What we do...
- The defence, and where appropriate settlement, of abuse claims – guiding you through the concepts of negligence in a social care setting, vicarious liability, causation and quantum. Dealing with both straightforward, individual claims and large, high-profile group actions. Advising you on your strategy for stale claims (limitation issues) and potential redress schemes.
- Advising and conducting recovery actions against abusers - either in standalone proceedings or alongside a claim for damages for abuse.
- Assisting you where you’ve been drawn into police investigations - advising regarding the involvement of staff and the disclosure of documents, liaising generally with the police and prosecuting authorities.
- Providing support, advice and advocacy at inquests, private and public inquiries.
- The defence, and where appropriate settlement, of failure to remove claims - utilising our specialist expertise to advise you of the areas of weakness in practice, in advance of expert evidence, and the consequential losses.
- Advising you with regard to Deprivation of Liberty issues and their regularisation - whether by the Court of Protection or others, dealing with claims arising from these.
- Advising and assisting with regard to Human Rights claims - whether in the Family Court or as an independent civil claim.
- Advising with regard to the inadvertent release of sensitive personal data and resulting claims.
- Drafting and stress testing safeguarding policies and procedures.
- Advising with regard to child sexual exploitation claims.
Acting on behalf of a faith group in relation to an historical claim by a former cleaner who was sexually assaulted in a residential care facility where she worked. She had received two previous ex gratia payments and used these as evidence of liability. We ensured that medical evidence was properly obtained to enable the claim to be definitively valued and concluded the claim by a final payment which took into account all previous payments to the claimant.
Alleged abuse by foster mother
Alleged abuse by foster mother and her offspring leading to brain injury (cognitive deficit). The claimants had both learning disabilities and ADHD. The principal allegations were of inappropriate care and inappropriate subsequent psychiatric treatment. The claim involved the developing area of sexual abuse leading directly to brain injury. In total, two care experts and six medical experts were instructed.
Major children’s charity
Acting for a major children’s charity in a high-profile piece of group litigation concerning the actions of a celebrity presenter.
Care home placement
Advising with regard to an alleged unlawful deprivation of liberty for approximately 9 months on the basis that a placement in a care home breached Articles 5 and 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Our social care and health advisory expertise enabled us to proficiently assess the deprivation of liberty aspect and the claim was settled for £15,000 and £9,000 claimant’s costs – a substantial discount on the sums claimed.
You may be interested in...
Parental alienation a tool for domestic abuse?
Work experience placements – commendable: have them, and be alive to the risk
Browne Jacobson announces appointment of Barrister to its Cardiff office
Advising on alternative treatments for patients – what is the legal test to be applied?
Legal professionals: Duty, scope, and limits to both – context is key
Vicarious liability – don’t overlook the importance of close connection
HXA and YXA failure to remove cases: Key considerations in anticipation of the Supreme Court judgment
Public liability register – is it (finally) on the way?
Local authority ‘failure to remove’ duties: Up in the air
A brief summary of the Court of Appeal decision in HXA v Surrey County Council and YXA v Wolverhampton City Council
On 31 August 2022, the Court of Appeal handed down the Judgment in respect of the appeal case of HXA v Surrey County Council and YXA v Wolverhampton City Council .
Limitation under the Human Rights Act
'Barry Bennell case' webinar
This webinar looks at the three key themes in the decision, and is aimed at sports & social clubs (including safeguarding officers).
Do local authorities owe a duty of care to children living at home with their family?
Legal Update - Shared Insights
Shared Insights: the future of interaction between health and social care
This session discussed the future of interaction between NHS Trusts and local government amidst a drive for better integrated care.
Historical child abuse and limitation – check your public liability policies
Last week the Court of Appeal handed down a decision that has significant implications for all those organisations that may face historical abuse claims.
Foster carers are not ‘workers’ according to the Employment Tribunal
For anyone who has followed the evolving case law in the social care sector, this title is likely to raise some questions. Most notably, “What about the decision in Armes?”
Abuse and social care newsletter - August 2019
This edition looks at CN & GN v Poole Borough Council, Kuoni, faith abuse cases, limitation in child abuse negligence claims, applications to strike out, and Human Rights Act experts.
Human Rights Act experts: are they necessary in Human Rights Act claims?
Public authorities have become familiar with the challenges of claims for non-recent abuse, often arising out of care and school environments.
Limitation in child abuse negligence claims
Limitation law prevents a claim from being pursued after a certain period has elapsed from the date of events to which it relates.
Social care negligence claims – is there ever a time when an application to strike out is appropriate?
Now that the Supreme Court has delivered its judgment in the case of CN & GN, many claimants’ solicitors are beginning to reawaken their files (where they have the funding and the will to do so); seeking disclosure from local authorities so that they can investigate and potentially issue claims.
Kuoni referred to the CJEU by Supreme Court for clarification - possible impact on breach of contract, vicarious liability and assumption of responsibility claims for sexual abuse and assault
We were hoping to be able to give you some interesting insights following the judgment of X v Kuoni Travel Ltd but that will have to wait for another day.
Watch this space on breach of contract, vicarious liability and assumption of responsibility
The concept of Assumption of Responsibility is on many stakeholders’ minds at the moment following the Supreme Court decision in CN & GN v Poole.
Sussex Partnership NHS Trust fined £200,000 – A warning for providers and investors
Sussex Partnership NHS Trust was sentenced on 14 June 2019 for failing to provide safe care and treatment to a 19 year old inmate being cared for on the hospital wing of Lewes Prison, Jamie Osborne.
CN & GN in the Supreme Court - your questions answered
Reaction: Supreme Court rules no duty of care in negligence in Poole Borough Council v GN and another
Redress schemes for abuse and misconduct - hear from our experts
The IICSA has a number of investigative streams, and one of its areas of focus is Accountability and Reparations.
Children in care and immigration
When dealing with children with care and immigration issues, both the Family Court and the Immigration Tribunal must act in the child’s best interests.
Abuse and social care newsletter - April 2019
Welcome to our quarterly social care newsletter.
Social work negligence claims – is there a link between case loads and performance?
Whilst we are all awaiting the Supreme Court’s judgment on duties of care in CN and GN v Poole Borough Council, it is worth revisiting what else claimants have to prove to successfully pursue a claim in negligence.
Lifting the roof on the 'same roof rule'
The Government has recently announced the abolition of the 'same roof rule' which prevented victims of crime (particularly historical abuse) from claiming a CICA payment if they were assaulted by someone they lived with, as members of the same family, before 1979. The reform will be costly.
Local authorities - recoveries from abusers' pensions - approach with caution
The damages claims social services authorities are facing arising out of alleged abuse by employees is not reducing.
Are redress schemes the answer to improving the way abuse claims are dealt with?
The search for improved ways of dealing with abuse claims has put a spotlight on redress schemes; with Manchester City football club recently announcing a scheme and Lambeth Council providing a ‘half time’ assessment of their scheme.
Safeguarding - getting it right for youth clubs and groups
There is no doubt that clubs, community groups and organisations run principally by parents and volunteers for children and young people, particularly those that focus on skills, activities and team work offer immeasurable benefits for the people who take part.
Pope admits that priests sexually abused nuns
Internationally, a number of investigations and inquiries have unearthed historical sexual abuse by priests. Previously, the focus had been on allegations of abuse against children.
An updated consideration of consent and positions of trust
Consent in abuse claims has long been a controversial and difficult subject to broach. Many organisations have been criticised for raising the issue.