Glasgow council to pay £1.3m to man abused by foster carer

22nd October, 2021 3:26 pm

Glasgow City Council has been ordered to pay more than £1.3m to a man who was abused as a child by his foster carer.

The Court of Session ruled the authority must initially pay the unnamed man £1,339,185.

However, the final amount could be larger when interest is determined by the court at a later hearing.

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said the authority would “take the appropriate time to consider the judgment in full”.

Judge Lord Brailsford said there was “no dispute” that the man had been “the victim of serious sexual abuse”.

The court heard that the foster carer, who was not named in the court ruling, had previously been convicted of offences involving the man and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

‘Vicariously liable’

The victim took legal action against the council for the “loss, injury and damage sustained by him as a consequence of abuse he suffered at the hands of a foster carer” between 1983 and 1988.

Lord Brailsford said he was “satisfied on the balance of probabilities” that difficulties the man suffered both in his employment and in his personal life had been proved to be “causally linked to the childhood sexual abuse” he suffered.

As a result, he said Glasgow City Council was “vicariously liable for the consequences of that conduct”.

Glasgow City ChambersIMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
Image caption,Glasgow City Council said it would take time to consider the judgement in full

An expert report submitted to the court found that the man – who is now 50 – had “suffered throughout adulthood, from PTSD, psychosexual problems, anxiety and personality-related difficulties”.

He had been taken into care at the age of 21 months, living in two children’s homes and then with two separate foster families.

At the age of 12, he was placed with the foster carer who went on to abuse him.

He said he had been “consistently seriously abused”, adding that he was “raped and molested and subjected to daily threats of physical violence”.

The judgement said: “Severe abuse and rape was a regular occurrence.”

Childhood ‘stolen’

It added that at this point the victim was “a vulnerable child needing reassurance, love and protection”.

“This need was then contrasted with the long period, a number of years, in the care of those persons when the pursuer sustained years of sexual abuse,” it said.

The judgment added that the man felt his childhood had been “stolen from him”.

“He was ashamed of what happened to him at the time, he could not understand why it happened,” it said. “He had no adult he could tell or disclose the abuse to. He felt ‘trapped’ and considered that he had ‘nowhere to turn’.”

The man left the foster carer’s home after he finished school, taking a bus to Reading, “because the service to that city was available when he went to the Central Bus Station in Glasgow and that the destination was the furthest for which he could afford the fare”.

But after leaving he had “flashbacks, nightmares and disturbed memories”, which affected both his work and his personal relationships.

‘Continuing flashbacks’

While he has had periods of work, he is not currently in a job, with the judgment stating he felt his “continuing flashbacks were an impediment to his ability to obtain employment”.

The man, who obtained four Highers during his time in care, also said he was “100% sure” he would have gone to university if he had not been abused, with the ruling describing him not going into higher education as his “biggest regret in life”.

The man’s lawyer, Laura Connor, said the ruling highlighted the need for abuse survivors to take legal advice before deciding on whether to accept money from the Scottish government’s redress scheme.

Ministers set up the Redress Scotland scheme after Holyrood passed legislation in March this year to make payments of up to £100,000 for those who suffered abuse while in care before December 2004.

That scheme is scheduled to open to applications in December, but Ms Connor, head of the survivors department at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “The scheme will be right for some people, but not for all.”

Source: BBC, October 2021

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