Landmark ruling ‘gives hope’ to Scottish victims of abuse in foster care
A landmark ruling made by the supreme court has supplied hope to victims who have been abused by their foster parents. It was heard that Nottingham County Council was found vicariously liable for the physical and emotional abuse of a child placed in foster care in the 1980’s. Not only that, they were also found to be vicariously liable for the sexual abuse committed by the foster parents.
It was ruled by judges that due to the council paying the foster parents to care for children on their behalf, they should be liable for the actions against the children. This ruling was a crucial landmark in scots law. Prior to this victims would often have to seek answers via CICA to find out their eligibility for a claim. Often victims would find it a hard battle to fight when employers would use loopholes in the law to disassociate themselves with the abuser. Such was often the case in religious groups, youth organisations and football clubs.
This month also saw the removal of the time bar. Previously, victims of childhood abuse only had three years from the date of their injury or from their 16th birthday to bring forward a claim. MSP’s this month have passed the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) Bill which allows the three years time bar to be lifted as long as the victim was a child under the age of 18 when thy suffered either sexual, physical or emotional abuse. This bill allows for the individual responsible for the abuse to be sued directly, or damages against employers for their current or former employees. This bill does state however that the pursuers must be the person who has been abused and cannot be a family member of someone who has since died.
Through these changes over the past month, we could see a significant rise of cases in the near future. Those who have suffered at the hands of a foster parent can now seek justice with the change in law and this landmark ruling.
This blog post was written by Lisa Carmichael, BA, LLB, currently studying the Diploma in Professional Legal PracticeView all →