Abuse victim takes charity to court for failings

Man looking out to sea

Digby Brown Solicitors helped an abuse survivor pursue a £100,000 professional negligence claim after Victim Support Scotland (VSS) failed in the legal help it provided.

The charity was asked by a victim to handle a Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) claim after he was abused by his mother during the 1970s and 80s.

VSS secured £17,500 in compensation but it later emerged that the victim had lost out on thousands because they failed to take into account his loss of earnings.

The mishandling resulted in Digby Brown raising a case against Victim Support Scotland for £100,000 which concluded this week. The court ruled that VSS had failed to provide “reasonable skill and care” leaving them open to a civil case.

The client involved said: “Victim Support Scotland have a good reputation for helping victims but they really let me down with something that I thought they were capable of doing.

“I also found it shocking to hear the charity argue it had no duty of care to victims when it took on their CICA cases.

“I applaud the charity for what it gets right for the thousands of people it helps every year but it doesn’t change the fact their mistake with my case has prevented me from being able to secure the entitled means to get my life back on track.”

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard a VSS agent gave him a leaflet on the services they provide which included help with CICA claims.

When he revealed his abuse resulted in a job loss the charity failed to highlight a potential loss of earnings claim in addition to the claim for the abuse itself.

In a written judgement, Sheriff Peter Braid ruled VSS failed in addressing the loss of earnings aspect of the CICA claim, stating: “To that extent, I have found the pursuer’s averments of duty to be proved.”

Digby Brown Solicitors said: “Victim Support Scotland is a support group that offers lots of services for lots of people.

“However we believed if they accepted instructions to represent the client then they did owe him a duty of care to get it right.

“It highlights the complexity of the CICA process which is why we always encourage survivors to speak to a dedicated personal injury solicitor first before making a decision on their options to secure compensation."

The Herald reported the story and you can read more online here Abuse victim sues charity over ‘error that cost him thousands