Children in care are some of the most vulnerable in society. They may have limited or no contact with family, and have often been through traumatic events already in their lives.
Does a lot of abuse happen in children's homes?
Abuse in children’s care homes is unfortunately a common occurrence. Historically, it was much easier for those intent on abusing children to gain employment in or access to children’s homes. Over the years we have seen many police investigations across England and Wales and an increase in reports of historic abuse in children’s homes. Many ex-staff members have been convicted of offences against children in these homes and our specialist team have dealt with hundreds of children’s home abuse cases.
What is child abuse?
Child abuse can take many forms including:
- Sexual abuse and assaults
- Physical abuse
- Mental, emotional and psychological abuse
- Grooming and child sexual exploitation
- Ritual abuse
In children’s care homes, abuse may be committed by the following:
- Care staff working in the homes
- Educational staff visiting or working in the homes
- Ancillary staff working in the homes such as cleaners and caretakers
- Visiting social workers
- Other children living in the homes
What types of children’s homes are there in the England and Wales?
Children’s homes is the term used to describe accommodation for children outside the family environment. We have a history of accommodating children in this country dating back to the mid sixteenth century.
There are many types of children’s homes where we have seen instances abuse and in respect of which a claim for compensation may be made, including:
- Residential childrens homes
- Council childrens homes
- Approved schools
- Community homes
- Church homes
- Blind Schools
- Charity run homes
- Industrial schools
- Cottage homes
What if I cannot remember the exact dates I was in the home?
It is understandable that your recollection of dates you were in a children’s home is not entirely accurate. We usually find that most people have an idea of when they were at a home and we usually ask our clients to think about significant events or incidents that may help them remember their age at the time, for example, a parent or family member visiting or receiving a memorable gift or even a historic event or news story happening at the time.
In any event, we will usually apply for your social care records which will enable us to see exactly when you were a resident at any home. The opponent in your case will also look for the admissions records for the particular home and will disclose copies of these to us as part of your case.
What if I was in care a long time ago, will my care records still be available?
Today the storage and retention of care records are more consistent across the country, but if you were in care many years ago, in particular before records could be stored electronically, there is no guarantee that your records will be available. Some local authorities and local councils were historically much better at retaining and storing records, so it really depends on where you lived as a child and which social services department you came under. If your records do still exist and can be located, then we will be able to obtain these if they are needed for your compensation claim. Older paper care records can be voluminous and quite often there can be documents missing. Don’t worry about this though as they are often not essential in proving your abuse compensation claim.
We have an institutional abuse compensation calculator that will give you an idea of what compensation you could claim.
If your care records are still available and they are relevant to your case then we will obtain a copy. If we will not need them ourselves we can advise you on how you can apply for them. Many of our clients ask us to provide them with a copy of their social care records. We try and encourage clients to wait until the end of their case before we send the records to you. We also advise our clients that they ensure that they have available support from a friend or family member when they do read your records. Childhood social care records can contain information about your childhood that may be upsetting and often contain information about your family that you may not have been aware of.