Two authorities prepare for legal action over abuse cases

At least 47 people are to sue Sunderland council over alleged
abuse they claim they suffered as children in the care of the local
authority, writes Paul Humphries.

That figure could double, with legal bills running into millions
of pounds, according to Brian Puech of solicitors Richard Reed,
which is handling 43 of the cases.

“People who wish to make a claim are just registering at the
moment and it is early days. We envisage many more coming forward
and joining the group litigation,” he said.

The incidents are alleged to have taken place between 1960 and
1990 at homes run by the authority, and others used by the council,
across the north of England. The alleged abuse ranges from rape to
the “over zealous” physical restraint of children.

A spokesperson for the council said the authority was continuing
its investigations into the claims.

Meanwhile, Liverpool council is setting aside cash in case for
possible legal action by former residents of care homes who claim
they have suffered mental or physical abuse.

The council has refused to reveal the amount of money involved,
but a report presented to the council’s resources select committee
states: “The city council is aware of a number of cases where
former residents of council care homes are alleging that they
suffered mental and physical abuse and are claiming

“At present none of the cases have reached court. It is
difficult to form a realistic estimate of the likely liability, but
based on the experience of other local authorities, the amount
could be significant.”








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