The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has opened the country’s eyes to the disturbing treatment that many people suffered as children while under the care of religious orders, local authorities, charity bodies, football clubs, foster homes and even family members. The stigma attached to abuse has waned in recent years and more people are coming forward to tell their stories. What is plain is that the abuse suffered haunts the victims throughout their lives.
At Drummond Miller, we understand how difficult it is for survivors of abuse to speak about their experiences, let alone pursue a claim for financial compensation. Pursuing such a claim is a stressful and often complex process and we pride ourselves on putting client care first. We aim to progress matters in a clear and accessible manner which caters to client’s needs
Our team of solicitors are experienced in pursuing abuse claims, whether historic or recent, and have obtained compensation for many of our clients. We act for one of the main core participants in the Child Abuse Inquiry.
In recognition of our success and expertise, we were finalists for Litigation Team of the Year at The Herald Law Awards of Scotland 2019, one of the country’s leading and prestigious law award ceremonies. The partner supervising the team, Darren Deery, is highly-respected and is part of a committee seeking to develop a protocol to ensure the most efficient progress/settlement of abuse cases. He was also a finalist at The Herald Law Awards of Scotland 2019 for Solicitor of the Year due to his work in assisting victims of abuse and medical negligence.
We have strong working relationships with Counsel, medical experts and vocational experts who specialise in this area of personal injury law which in turn helps us to get the best possible results for our clients. Through this and our solicitors’ experience, we are able to progress the most complex and high value claims.
Who can make a claim?
The Limitation (Child Abuse) (Scotland) Act 2017 removed the 3-year “time bar” rule for abuse claims and now survivors are able to claim compensation for physical, sexual and emotional abuse, provided that it took place after September 1964.
Claims can be pursued against individuals (provided that they have the financial means and assets to pay compensation) or,
under certain circumstances, against an organization whose relationship with the abuser is “akin to employment”.
Anyone who previously raised an action for damages and failed is permitted to seek compensation again. However, if a claim relating to the same abuse was settled prior to the change in the law, it is not possible to pursue another claim.
Where the abuser is now deceased, the claim can possibly be raised against the deceased’s estate, so long as it has not yet been divided.
What do I do if I think I have a claim?
The first step is to arrange an appointment to speak with one of our team members so that they can take some details about your claim and provide some initial advice. We are happy to obtain these details through whatever format you find most comfortable, whether that be by email, over the telephone or in a meeting.
If we feel able to assist you with your claim, we will look to obtain the necessary evidence which is likely to involve medical evidence, historic records (such as from schools, social work or the police) police statements and witness statements.
Are there any alternative means to secure compensation?
Depending on the circumstances and the evidence available, sometimes the prospects of success in a civil claim are limited. A common scenario is that a survivor of abuse is unable to pursue a claim against their abuser as an individual because he/she does not have the financial means to pay compensation. In such a situation, you may be able to make a claim via the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. Our solicitors are experienced in pursing such claims and will able to advise and assist should you wish to consider this option.
In addition, certain survivors of abuse also have the option of applying for a payment under the Scottish Government Advance Payment Scheme (currently open only to those aged 68 or over or suffering serious illness). The Scheme is in its early stages and a wider Scheme is continuing to be refined, but if you would like to discuss whether you may be eligible for payment, we would be happy to provide advice.
We have several means of funding your claim including applications to the Scottish Legal Aid Board (subject to eligibility) and on a No Win No Fee basis. We would be happy to discuss the options available to you in more detail when you contact us.
We assist survivors from all over the country and so if you think that you have a potential claim for physical, sexual and emotional abuse, please feel free to contact our solicitors Darren Deery, Jennifer Gilmour, Grace Harbison or Craig Christie for initial advice. Alternatively, you can fill in our online enquiry form and one of our team members will respond as soon as possible.