North Wales abuse victims win £300,000 payout

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The Independent Online

Eleven victims of abuse in children's homes in North Wales were awarded damages yesterday totalling more than £300,000 by a High Court judge.

Eleven victims of abuse in children's homes in North Wales were awarded damages yesterday totalling more than £300,000 by a High Court judge.

The victims, who lived in children's homes run by the former Clwyd County Council, suffered years of ill-treatment at the hands of careworkers, including sexual, physical and emotional abuse. They are the first group to be compensated over the Waterhouse report, published in February after a three-year inquiry into Britain's biggest child abuse scandal. Total compensation is expected to run into millions.

The £13m report revealed abuse in many children's home and systematic cover-ups by social workers and local authorities. At least 12 victims committed suicide.

Mr Justice Scott Baker awarded sums ranging from £2,000 to £94,000 for pain and suffering and loss of earnings against Flintshire County Council, formerly Clwyd County Council. He said: "There is a great sense of indignation that vulnerable teenagers should have been treated so disgracefully in places where they and the public had every right to believe they would be safe.

"In this tranche, 65 claims were settled and 30 claims ... were ... not effective." Four cases in the first group remain outstanding "as do some 28 new claims that have been notified within the last few months".

He said the central issue was "the extent to which the abuse has caused or contributed to the misfortunes suffered in later life by the claimant".

In some cases people did not disclose abuse until they were much older but the judge said he had not penalised people who had done this because of the traumatic circumstances."Psychiatric damage is particularly difficult to evaluate in monetary terms, particularly when the damage was inflicted on teenagers who had not developed completely."

The Association of Directors of Social Services said: "Nothing can compensate for the abuse these people suffered but we unreservedly welcome the settlements."

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