Abuse by foster carers

Abuse by foster carers

Foster carers are supposed to ensure that vulnerable children are provided with a stable family life if they are unable to live with their parents.

Unfortunately, sometimes foster homes are not the loving setting that they should be. In some cases already vulnerable foster children can experience sexual, physical or emotional abuse, neglect and exploitation. The effects of poor foster care can be serious and long-term. Often children may feel the abuse is somehow their fault. Sometimes children may not understand that what is happening to them is even abuse at the time.

The psychological impact can sometimes stay hidden, only to be triggered by something in adulthood. Whilst compensation cannot remove these problems, it can help with the cost of therapeutic treatment. Sometimes compensation can mean a sense of closure and acceptance is achieved from the difficulties experienced in the past.

Our specialist solicitors at Verisona Law can help you make a claim if you were abused. Contact our caring team for guidance and advice on the options available to you.

We act for most clients on a no win no fee basis, and we can also advise you about making a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

Making a claim for abuse by a foster carer

If a foster carer committed the abuse, it is possible to make a claim against the individual foster carer involved. However, the better course of action is potentially to look at a claim against the local authority responsible for selection and monitoring of the foster carer or against the private fostering organisation covering the foster carers, as they are more likely to be insured or have funds to pay claims. Identifying the effective ‘employer’ of the foster carer will be important.

Our experienced team are used to looking closely at the relationship between the abuser and the defendant and between the abuser and the abuse itself. We can advise on the best course of action for bringing your claim.

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Child Abuse

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Child Abuse

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Child Abuse

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Vicarious liability

On 18th October 2017, the Supreme Court gave a much-awaited judgement in the case of Armes (NA) -v- Nottinghamshire County Council finding that local authorities are vicariously liable for the actions of foster parents, including abuse on foster children.

The Justices found:

  • the local authority carries out the recruitment, selection and training of foster parents, pays their expenses and supervises the fostering.
  • A local authority exercises powers of approval, inspection, supervision, and removal over foster carers, therefore exercising a significant degree of control over the foster parents and how they perform their care duties.
  • The local authority’s placement of a child in the care of foster parents creates a relationship of authority and trust between the foster parents and child. Through its own choice of placement, the local authority renders a child particularly at risk to abuse, and it is therefore fair that the local authority should compensate that child should the risk materialise.
  • Most foster parents have insufficient means to make a substantial compensation payment, whilst local authorities can more easily compensate victims of abuse.

Time restrictions on making a claim

Technically, you have until the age of 21 to issue a claim at court arising from abuse, but if you are older than 21 and you have suffered abuse it may still be possible to succeed with the claim. The courts understand that there are many reasons why victims of abuse may not be able to come forward sooner and can in some circumstances extent the time limit for bringing a claim.

Verisona Law will support you in this type of claim and are experienced at collecting evidence to show the courts exactly why the claim could not be made sooner and why it should be allowed outside the usual time limit.

Verisona Law – understanding, support & assistance

We have assisted many child abuse victims to win their cases. We understand how hard it can be to talk about the abuse, but we are here to support you at your own pace and are sensitive to your needs, both in terms of trying to achieve rehabilitation and therapy, at the same time as seeking justice and closure.

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Previous work

We represented ROX who suffered serious sexual abuse at the hands of her foster carer for the period of one month in 1997, and for which criminal convictions against the foster carer were secured in 2012. In fact this claim was also combined with a serious claim for negligence against the local authority social services department for failure to remove ROX from severe sexual abuse being perpetrated by her biological mother and other numerous men she was bringing to the family home. As a result of the abuse ROX developed severe mental health problems including PTSD, as well as a linked excessive sweating condition & partially caused incontinence condition.

Fortunately for ROX she had managed to do well for herself in terms of career progression having eventually received loving care and support from her adoptive parents. We secured £60,000 compensation, including compensation to help her obtain the treatment she needed.

Our specialist historic abuse team

Adam Corcoran
Principal Lawyer and Head of Commercial Property
Andrea Cox
Principal Lawyer - Wills, Trust and Probate
Carla Burt
Conveyancing Assistant - Residential Property
Charlene Griffin
Team Assistant - Family
Charlotte Attwood
Team Assistant - Family
Conor Geoghegan
Solicitor - Commercial Property
David Hawkins
Litigation Executive - Historic Abuse
Ellie Reynolds
Solicitor - Wills, Trusts and Probate
Gemma Johnson
Team Assistant - Residential Property
Iain Belcher
Consultant - Wills, Trust and Probate
Jackie Dobson
Team Assistant - Historic Abuse
Jackie Goring
Solicitor - Commercial Property
Jacky Sneddon
Team Assistant - Family
Jane Pethick
Team Assistant - Employment and Corporate & Commercial
Jane Wheeler
Solicitor - Family Law
Jeremy Paterson
Senior Associate - Dispute Resolution
Lisa Gafarov
Litigation Executive - Historic Abuse
Louise Bambury
Client Service Coordinator
Marie Forbes
Solicitor - Historic Abuse/Litigation
Michael Dyer
Principal Lawyer and Head of Business Law
Natalie Chance
Team Assistant - Marine
Nickie Mills
Team Assistant - Wills, Trust and Probate
Nigel Wale
Team Assistant - Commercial Property
Robert Harris
Consultant - Commercial Property
Sara-Jayne Fildes
National Head of Family Law
Sue Ball
Principal Lawyer, Head of Employment & Southern Region
Tim Reynolds
Principal Lawyer and Southern Region Head of Marine
Tracy Hunns-Clarke
Litigation Executive