Sexual abuse claims
Sexual abuse claims

The following PI & Clinical Negligence guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Sexual abuse claims
  • Claims against local authorities
  • Vicarious liability
  • Trespass to the person
  • Wilkinson v Downton claim
  • Protection from Harassment Act 1997
  • Misfeasance in public office
  • The Human Rights Act 1998
  • Application to Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)
  • Proposed pre-action protocol (PAP) for abuse claims

Claims against local authorities

In some cases, the question arises whether a local authority has a duty of care to a child such as where a child has been under a care order or where they have remained with abusive parents.

Breach of statutory duty

The scope for a victim of abuse to bring an action based solely on a breach of statutory duty appears to be very limited. In the case of X (minors) v Bedfordshire CC the House of Lords decided:

  1. a breach of statutory duty does not by itself give rise to any private law cause of action

  2. but a private law cause of action may arise if, as a matter of construction, the statute imposed a duty for the protection of a limited class of the public and Parliament clearly intended to confer on members of that class a private right of action for breach of the duty

  3. the absence of another remedy for breach and a clear intention of Parliament to protect a limited class are indicators that there may be a private right of action

It is important to note that others parts of the decision in X (minors) v Bedfordshire CC have been overruled (see further below).

Common law duty of care—direct duty

A local authority may owe a common law duty of care to