Seven claims by victims of ‘predatory’ social worker 

Social worker Sean Bell was uncovered as a serious abuser and died while facing charges in 2020.

Seven claims made by victims of ‘predatory’ Edinburgh Council social worker Google Maps

Edinburgh Council has received seven compensation claims from victims of a former employee who was a prolific abuser.

A redress scheme to help give those who suffered at the hands of Sean Bell “a level of closure” closed in September after inviting applications.

Bell, who was a senior social worker, was set to stand trial for criminal charges spanning his 30-year career in the council when he was found dead at the bottom of Salisbury Crags in 2020.

Victims described him as a “predatory, controlling, serial abuser” who harmed people “sexually, physically, emotionally and psychologically”.

Following his death, an independent inquiry found he was protected by an “old boys network” at Edinburgh City Council.

Interviews with more than 50 witnesses and analysis of in excess of 70,000 emails revealed he was “lecherous” and “predatory” in his attitude towards female colleagues.

A freedom of information request revealed seven claims were made under a redress scheme established for his victims in the wake of the scandal.

The council has set aside £1.5m to compensate survivors.

Claimants were deemed to be eligible if administrators Pinset Masons were “satisfied on the balance of probabilities” that they suffered “relevant abuse”.

However, previously the council was criticised for the terms of the scheme being too “narrow”.

Council whistleblower Christine Scott said last year it should have been extended “to include all victims, not just in the Sean Bell case” after some who suffered found they were not eligible.

She claimed one person had been denied compensation because they hadn’t been personally physically or sexually assaulted by Bell, adding: “Their definition of abuse is way back to the 1970s. There are other forms of abuse that certainly whistleblowers have been on the receiving end of.”

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