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.

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.

Your help in pursuing and fighting my case is greatly appreciated, not by just myself but my whole family. Only through the progression of the case have I found it easier to talk about it and this has helped deal with something I had locked away since the day I left the school. It has allowed me to talk about my experiences far more openly and without the stigma of shame I had felt for so long.

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


Marie Forbes
Solicitor - Historic Abuse/Litigation

Marie Forbes is a Litigation Solicitor. She qualified in 2006 and is currently working in both our Southampton and Portsmouth offices.

Marie has the following areas of specialism: Historic Abuse, Contract Disputes, Professional Negligence against solicitors, architects, project managers, accountants etc, Intellectual Property disputes, Insolvency and Bankruptcy proceedings, Debt Collection, Enforcement of Judgments, Partnership Disputes Shareholder’s disputes and Defamation. Marie acts for both company and individual clients.

Marie was previously involved in a successful and reported case of Professional Negligence against a magic circle firm and has successfully settled numerous cases for termination charges on telecommunications contracts.


Lisa Gafarov
Litigation Executive - Historic Abuse

Lisa is a member of Verisona Law’s Historic Abuse Team and undertakes documentary analysis, work relating to case evidence and the development of legal arguments to secure successful settlements. She is fluent in German and Persian.

Lisa has represented clients in the IICSA trial and has been successful in making claims against the Lambeth Council Redress Scheme.


David Hawkins
Litigation Executive - Historic Abuse

David has almost 20 years’ experience working in Personal Injury law. After working in the insurance sector for many years, firstly in general insurance, then moving to dealing with Personal Injury claims for the insurers, he decided to join the legal profession to uphold and pursue the rights of people who have been injured through no fault of their own.

David now pursues claims on behalf of abuse survivors against both individuals and organisations such as Lambeth council.


Charlotte Attwood ACILEx
Litigation Assistant - Historic Abuse

As Litigation Assistant in the Historic Abuse department, Charlotte runs her own case load alongside Lisa Gafarov. She prepares and drafts documents, applications and attends to new and daily enquires. Charlotte works on civil files, Lambeth redress scheme cases, Beecholme, Clinical Negligence and trip accidents relating to occupiers liability.