Sexual abuse by a church youth worker

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A woman who was abused as a child by a church youth worker has won her claim for compensation

We have recently recovered compensation for a woman who suffered sexual abuse by a church youth worker when she was just 11 years of age.

We identified the potential claim before the legal time limit was due to expire on the claimant’s 21st birthday. However, the law does allow claims to be brought ‘out of time’ where sexual abuse is involved, so victims should not be put off pursuing a claim even if the abuse occurred many years ago.

The claim was made against the church that ran the youth club where our client was abused.

The church disputed that it could be held responsible for the abuse as it did not occur within the context of a youth club activity.

However, organisations can be held ‘vicariously liable’ for the criminal acts of others. This enables victims of abuse to recover compensation from organisations like the church, or a local authority or an employer in situations where the individual abuser does not have the financial means to pay compensation.

In this case the youth worker had been placed in a position of trust and authority by the church and we argued that the church was legally liable for his actions.

There have been a number of developments in the law relating to ‘vicarious liability’ which are favourable to claimants.

We therefore arranged for court proceedings to be issued against the Church.

Although the claim was defended we were able to negotiate an out of court settlement. this meant that our client received compensation for the abuse without having to attend a trial.

For specialist guidance on bringing a claim for sexual abuse by a church youth worker call our free helpline on 0808 139 1606 or email us at [email protected]