The High Court in Manchester over a 2 day hearing from 23rd to 24th September 2015 refused to allow 70 victims of child abuse, who had come forward after a cut off date imposed on 12th June 2014, to join the existing Manchester Children’s Home Group Action against Manchester City Council.
The late joiners came forward after the cut-off date, most commonly due the shame and embarrassment surrounding the very incidents of child abuse in care which they allege. The very facts of the case, therefore, support the many years of delay on a psychological level. They were arguing that she should be allowed to join the Group late.
The Group was formed in order to allow the victims of sexual and physical child abuse in care from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s to make claims for compensation because they had been abused by care workers from various homes whilst they were in the care of the Council. The Group covered any home owned and run by Manchester City Council, but principally consisted of Rosehill in Northenden, Broomehouse in Didsbury, Mobberley in Knutsford, Glendene, Lynwood, Ellerslie, Seymour Road, and several others. The majority of the allegations have surrounded Rosehill where a paedophile ring was patently in operation.
There have been 2 Groups of former care residents who have come forward following a large scale criminal investigation by Greater Manchester Police under the umbrella of “Operation Cleopatra”. Evidence showed that 23 Police Officers and 6 Social Workers investigated allegations from 350 individuals who made allegations against 536 abusers of whom only 12 were prosecuted.
The First Group opened in 1997 and closed in 2007. The second Group opened in 2010 and continued until 12th June 2014 when a High Court Judge imposed a cut off date. This Group of 70 Claimants was seeking permission to join the 2nd Group out of time, because for psychological reasons they said they had been unable to face up to the child abuse, which happened to them, until after the cut off date.
Since 2001, when the Groups started 168 Claimants joined the 1st Group and settled their cases for £2,260,000 in compensation. The 2nd Group, however has involved 629 individuals claiming that they were abused in care. Nearly half the Group cases have been settled under an agreement with Council whereby, in return for agreeing to accept 55% of their compensation, the Council will not fight the cases on time delay. In Group 2 so far £2,759,085.00 has been paid out to 377 Claimants. Some of the Claims are insured. In total, therefore, so far 867 individuals have come forward, and £5,019,085 has been paid out.
After agreeing to settle all cases for many years, the Council said at the hearing that they now no longer wanted to abide by their agreement to settle, and would now fight some cases. This potentially discriminates against those coming forward later.
The Lead Solicitors are now appealing for any remaining victims to come forward so that they can join the group of the 70 remaining victims who have been refused entry to Group 2 with a view to forming a 3rd Group Action.
Peter Garsden of the Lead Solicitors, Simpson Millar, who represent most of the Claimants said, “I am very disappointed that the Court has decided not to allow the 70 late joiners into the Group. They are arguably more deserving because it has taken them longer to come forwards, no doubt due to the extra suffering they have endured. We hope that the Court will agree to the formation of a 3rd Group Action in order to dispose of any future cases.
Rosehill alone used to care for as many as 3000 children per year and was open for over 20 years. The potential number of individuals who have not yet come forward is therefore potentially huge.
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