What is foster care?
Anyone who has been in the care of the local authority as a child may have found themselves placed in foster care at some point. Foster care can be long or short-term and is intended to replicate the family environment as much as possible.
If I have suffered abuse in foster care can I claim compensation?
Yes. You can claim for sexual and physical abuse or assault. If you have been abused by a foster parent, then you can bring a claim against the local authority responsible for them. You can claim for the abuse itself and the effect it has had on you, including psychological or psychiatric damage that may have been caused.
Our organisational sexual and physical abuse and assault compensation calculator will give you an idea of what compensation you could claim.
I was told a few years ago that I could not make a claim, what has changed?
Historical sexual abuse was very difficult to claim for whilst in foster care as it was necessary to prove that the local authority have been negligent in some way. This could prove difficult where the abuse happened many years ago as records may have been lost or destroyed and witnesses difficult to trace. A welcome change in the law in 2017 now means that claims for abuse in foster care are much easier as the local authority will automatically be responsible for the acts of abuse or assault committed by a foster parent or carer.
This means that many individuals who were told before this date that they could not make a claim may now be able to do so.
I am now an adult and the abuse happened many years ago can I still claim?
Yes, you can. The usual rule in these types of cases is that any claim should be brought within three years of the date of the incidents or abuse. Where a person is under 18 when the abuse happened, this period does not start to run until their 18th birthday, meaning that any claim must be brought before they reach 21.
Most abuse claims are brought much later after this time limit has passed. This may be because it has taken a long time for the individual to disclose the abuse or to be able to take action. The law recognises that there will be circumstances where a person cannot reasonably be expected to bring the claim within the time limit and the courts have the discretion to waive this time limit. It is important that your solicitor addresses this issue at the outset.