Specialist solicitors secure £500,000 for childhood abuse survivor

Woman sitting on swing watching sunset

Our client was referred to Digby Brown Solicitors in 2013 after experiencing abuse in a children’s home in Edinburgh while she was growing up.

“I was told there was an opportunity for compensation and that I needed a solicitor. I was referred to Digby Brown. I just wanted the children’s home to acknowledge that they were in the wrong. They had said “sorry”, but I felt that wasn’t enough to undo what had happened to me.”

Unfortunately, because her abuse had happened during her childhood she only had three years after turning 16 to make a claim. This system meant that her case was time barred.

A change in the law…

Studies show that women often don’t talk about their abuse until 18 years after it happened – and men may not speak until 25 years later.

The Scottish Government took this on board and introduced the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Act on Wednesday 4 October 2017. This meant that victims of childhood abuse were no longer locked into strict time limits to make a claim allowing them to seek help when they are ready to speak about it.

“I was shocked, happy and pleased when I found out that the law had changed. I didn’t think I would ever get closure. I just wanted them to take responsibility for what had happened.”

“My main worry was that nobody would believe me but I felt Kim believed me from the minute we first spoke on the phone.”

Kim Leslie, Partner in our Edinburgh office and specialist in Historical Abuse cases, looked after our client’s case.

Kim raised the case in court as the individual who had abused our client had already stood trial and had been found guilty several years earlier.

“The process was very tiring. There were times where it felt never-ending and I wished it was just over and done with. Kim and her team were great at talking things through with me and keeping me going. They made it clear they were willing to help no matter what.”

The other side made an offer of £100,000, Kim advised that this was not enough to compensate for the trauma that our client had experienced throughout her childhood and the lifelong effect this had on her.

“The advice was spot on. They are the experts in this area of law and it was clear they knew what they were doing.”

At the pre-trial meeting, an offer was made of £500,000, five times more than the original offer, which our client was happy to accept.

“I was a bit shocked that it had actually ended, I had been on the verge of giving up so many times. I didn’t know what to say, I had finally got closure for the torment I had been through.

“I would tell others who have experienced what I have to be strong and come forward. It’s not going to take away what happened but it will help get some closure.”

Legal advice about abuse claims

Our solicitors understand that it is very difficult for people to come forward and speak to a solicitor about any physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

However, we may be able to help you find answers about what happened and secure compensation from an individual or an organisation, whether the abuse happened in childhood or adulthood.

If you would like to speak to someone confidentially about whether you may be able to make an abuse claim, please call us on 0333 200 5925 or contact Kim Leslie by email at kim.leslie@digbybrown.co.uk.

Historic abuse is a challenging area of law but we are here to help where we can.