Fettes College historic abuse survivor secures £400,000 in damages

Kim Leslie, Partner Digby Brown

A FETTES College abuse survivor who was beaten and sexually assaulted has received £400,000 in damages – the first known sum paid by the school.

Our client – known as ‘Frank’ – secured the landmark settlement decades after being abused by a former teacher (who cannot be named for legal reasons).

From the age of 12 he was repeatedly attacked at the Edinburgh school – he would have his head banged off desks and was molested in the classroom.

But the landmark settlement has now been secured following a civil legal action led by Kim Leslie which Frank now hopes will pave the way for others.

He said: “It has never been about the money - Fettes had the opportunity back in 2005 to do the right thing but they tried to bury things rather than do right by the pupils who were in their care.

“I was young at an all boy’s school and didn’t really comprehend what was being done to me.

“Also, at that time teachers had a supreme authority - as I got older I was overcome with feelings of severe embarrassment, anger and deep enduring distrust of authority.”

In the decades since the abuse happened Frank suffered from PTSD, flashbacks and depression.

The abuse meant he left Fettes with poor qualifications which impacted his ability to secure a career.

In the mid-2000s Frank reported the abuse to the police as well as the school but was left disappointed with the outcome of each investigation.

He therefore contacted Digby Brown and sought justice via a civil legal action against the Governors of the Fettes Trust.

His case settled last month for £400,000 – and it even settled out of court.

Frank concluded: “I know I am not the only survivor of abuse at Fettes.

“Many children were beaten and abused and I would urge anyone to come forward as the shame is not yours.

“The process has been cathartic for me and even brought me in touch with other survivors and we are able to help each other.”

Kim Leslie, Partner here at Digby Brown, led the legal action against the Trust.

She said: “Frank’s strength in speaking out is matched only by his strength in taking those responsible to court.

“Many abuse cases have been raised against Fettes but I believe Frank’s victory is the first that’s publicly known to be successful so I hope survivors may take hope from this result as they consider their own route to justice to get the damages and recognition they deserve."

 Frank's story was reported across the media including The Herald, BBC, Daily Record and The Scotsman.