Facebook Age Restriction and Safe Guarding - Compensation Claims

A father recently sued Facebook for failing to enforce its age restriction policy after his 11 year old daughter was found to have been exposed to online sexual predators. It is understood that Facebook settled out of court after a 4 year legal battle where the Claimant’s solicitor’s claimed Facebook had a 'duty of care' towards the girl and was 'negligent' because it has no system in place to stop users from misrepresenting their ages. The girl created several accounts to come into contact with older men, posting sexual pictures of herself. The social networking site took down the accounts after her father brought it to their attention. The court claimed 'By registering an account and using Facebook the child might be exposing herself to sexual predators or other grave risks affecting her emotional and physical health.' and added, ‘Facebook are obviously aware that children who should not be using Facebook are doing so by using the simple device of misrepresenting their age.’ On the website help pages it informs users to notify the site’s administrators if they come across any users that are under age. But the Claimant’s solicitors pointed out that they believed the way that Facebook is used now, it is unsuitable for those under 18 years of age, yet they cannot even keep control of their self-imposed 13 year age restriction. Facebook have said: 'People have to be 13 to sign up to Facebook. When we become aware that someone is under 13 and they have therefore lied about their age, we remove their account. There are some shocking statistics with regard to young users on the network. In 2011 it was claimed that 7.5 million users were under the minimum age of 13. This had then risen by approximately 10 million in the next 18 months. In 2012 research suggested that 38% of children on Facebook were under the minimum age of 13 and that staggeringly, 4% of children were 6 or younger. A recent survey carried out by website knowthenet.com revealed that 52% of 8 to 16-year-olds admitted ignoring Facebook's age policy when signing up. By the age of ten, 59% of children have used a social networking site, the survey found. The site boasts the most users of any of the social media interfaces and recently saw 1 billion individual users in a single day. With 94% of teenagers using Facebook, this new court case has brought about further criticism of the site’s handling of young people on the site. Advice for parents is to ensure that even if your child is 13 or over, to monitor the child’s access, enter their own restrictions and safeguard the child by entering their own security on the site, until a time that they feel the child can use the site appropriately with sufficient knowledge of the risk. Parents are advised to not let their children have an account under the age of 13, as the majority of the time the child has used a parent’s email address or details to beat the age and security restrictions. Those who fear that their child is at risk, should take action immediately and contact Facebook to shut the page down, or do it themselves as well as contacting the police if there is evidence of contact from sexual predators. In terms of legislation going forward and the effect on the legal world, Charles Derham comments that “this is a landmark case pleading negligence in safeguarding’ as he understands ‘Facebook owe a duty of care to any individual using the site, which supersedes the fact that the individual had broken the rules and restrictions of the site to gain access.’ It is argued that as well as monitoring the age restrictions and closing the accounts of those under 13, they should also be sufficiently monitoring those contacting children under 16 who are above the age restriction. If there is continuous contact by a ‘stranger’ or an individual significantly older than the user, there should be security imposed to monitor contact and block users until the threat, if any can be identified.


Lisa has specialised in childhood abuse and social care negligence for the last 8 years and has extensive experience in relation to civil abuse litigation, CICA claim maximisation and Redress Scheme claims. She offers a sympathetic and professional approach to her clients’ problems and advises on funding options (including insurance and Conditional Fee Agreements.)

Since 2018 she has travelled around the country to see clients who were failed by Lambeth Council during their childhood in order to collate evidence for submission to the Lambeth Children’s Home Compensation Scheme. Lisa’s style of working is tailored to providing emotional support whilst applying the specialist legal expertise required to ensure her client’s have the best evidence for making a successful claim.

Lisa is able to access key psychiatric and social care experts to obtain evidence and therapy recommendations for clients. She can direct clients to treatment providers if required. Often such treatment costs can be claimed as part of the compensation process. This is a priority to ensure her clients have the best opportunity to make positive steps into the future. Lisa excels in applying questions to psychiatric experts to clarify and ensure they have a deeper understanding of the case issues where required. She is also experienced in negotiation to maximise outcome according to specific scheme terms.

For the last year and half, Lisa has been leading the firm’s participation in the National Abuse Inquiry specifically relating to the IICSA Lambeth investigation acting on behalf of 6 core participants. Such work involved the preparation of core participant applications, section 40 funding applications, detailed consideration of social care record evidence, witness statements preparation, attending preliminary hearings for consideration on the extent of other key party involvement, detailed work on documentary disclosure evidence from the council, police and other core participants to identify deep seated failings within the past care and policing systems, cross referencing, and work with counsel on composing Rule 10 questioning of corporate and police witnesses giving evidence at the IICSA Lambeth hearing. Lisa also accompanied a key core participant giving evidence to the IICSA hearing providing support and understanding to ensure her client’s evidence was sensitively taken into account when the panel make recommendations to protect children in the future. Questions were raised on the effectiveness of the current Serious Case Review system and how this has been operating within police and council’s across the country, something which has also been identified whilst working on specific civil cases. The hope is that improvements in the child protection mechanisms can ensure the safety of children in future.

Lisa also specialises in CICA claims, an area of work which has increased significantly following the lifting of the pre 1979 same home abuse rule which facilitated many victims being able to finally achieve justice relating to serious childhood abuse.

Lisa also has extensive particular experience in running civil claims relating to foster carer abuse, abuse in private/public/approved school institutions, church abuse, and abuse linked to gymnastics.

Her extensive knowledge of the Civil Procedure Rules, skills in evidence gathering and analysis of liability and causation, and experience in risk assessment and settlement negotiation make her a valuable asset to clients and colleagues alike.

Lisa has more than 20 years’ experience of dealing with Personal Injury matters ranging from road traffic accidents to workplace injury and liability.

Lisa is fluent in German and Persian. She also has experience in Civil Litigation regarding Debt Recovery, Breach of Contract, and Insolvency Law

Client testimonials

"Lovely, friendly, great people. Very understanding too and very good at what they do. Very happy with the result, many thanks again Lisa and everyone involved in my case."
Anonymous

"I would like to express my profound heartfelt gratitude to Lisa Gafarov for all her hard work and understanding when representing me. She fought passionately for my case for two years.

Within this time, never once did I feel it was about the money for her. She was very considerate and dealt with many personal matters in a caring and professional way. It was a very sensitive case but she put in a lot of hard work and went the extra mile each time. Her wide range of expertise was indispensable during this difficult time. Because of this I trusted all her advice and as a result, this took a lot of pressure off of me.

She managed to reach a very amicable conclusion between the defendants and myself. You don’t know how much your passion impacts the lives of others. For this I am forever grateful. I would recommend your firm a hundred times over."
Anonymous, April 2019

Lisa studied ‘Contract Law, European Law and Employment Law’ as part of her degree in BA (Hons) Business Administration. She has also studied other business subjects, including accounting.

Having completed her degree, Lisa started work for Verisona Law in November 1999 in the Personal Injury department as a Trainee Litigation Clerk and since then has developed extensive skills in relation to personal injury litigation and case preparation.

  • Road traffic accidents
  • Accidents at work
  • Slip and trip claims
  • Occupier’s liability claims
  • Product Liability claims
  • Industrial disease claims
  • Work related upper limb disorder claims
  • Clinical negligence, including amputation claims
  • Cosmetic surgery claims
  • Abuse claims

"Thank you for all your much appreciated hard work. I will truly never forget your kindness towards me. Your patience, respect and understanding at all times was beyond words. The sincere compassion shown meant more to me than words could ever express. This firm will forever hold a special place in my heart."

Anonymous


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