Laura Sharman 12 December 2014

Council not liable for foster care abuse finds court

A judge has ruled a local authority can not be held legally responsible for abuse that happened to a woman in foster care and at the hands of her mother’s partner.

An unnamed woman had taken legal action against Nottinghamshire County Council for failing in its common law duty of care to protect her from abuse.

The woman, who suffered physical and emotional abuse from her mother and her mother’s partner, claimed that the council failed to remove her from her mother’s care at an early age.

She also claimed she had suffered physical, sexual and emotional abuse while in foster care, which the council is responsible for in law.

The judge said that while the claimant had a ‘very unhappy childhood which has cast a long shadow over her life’ the council could not be held legally responsible for the abuse she suffered in foster care.

The Honourable Mr Justice Males said: ‘I conclude also that the defendant council, having exercised reasonable care in the selection, supervision and monitoring of the foster parents with whom the claimant was placed, is not responsible in law for the abuse which they perpetrated.’

He also concluded the social workers responsible for her care had ‘acted reasonably in accordance with the professional standards of the day’.

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