Council ordered to pay £1.3m to man abused for years by foster carer

Glasgow City Council was ordered to make the payment in a ruling by Lord Brailsford at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

Council ordered to pay £1.3m to man abused for years by foster carer PA Media

Scotland’s largest council has been ordered to pay more than £1.3m to a man who was abused for years as a child by his foster carer.

The Court of Session has ordered Glasgow City Council to pay out £1,339,185 to the unnamed man.

However the final amount paid out could be larger when interest is determined by the court at a later hearing.

Judge Lord Brailsford said in his ruling there is “no dispute” that the man involved had been “the victim of serious sexual abuse”.

The foster carer, who is not named in the court ruling, was “convicted of offences involving the pursuer and sentenced to a period of ten years’ imprisonment”.

The man took legal action against the council for the “loss, injury and damage sustained by him as a consequence of abuse he suffered at the hands of a foster carer” between 1983 and 1988.

Lord Brailsford said he is “satisfied on the balance of probabilities” that difficulties the man suffered both in his employment and in his personal life “have been proved to be causally linked to the childhood sexual abuse” he suffered.

As a result, he said Glasgow City Council is “vicariously liable for the consequences of that conduct”.

An expert report submitted to the court found the man – now aged 50 – “has suffered throughout adulthood, from PTSD, psychosexual problems, anxiety and personality related difficulties”.

The court judgment told how he had been taken into care at the age of 21 months, living in two children’s homes and then with two separate foster families.

At the age of 12 he was placed with the foster carer who went on to abuse him.

He has said of his time there that he was “consistently seriously abused”, adding he was “raped and molested and subjected to daily threats of physical violence”.

He said: “Severe abuse and rape was a regular occurrence.”

The judgment said at this point he was “a vulnerable child needing reassurance, love and protection”.

But it added: “This need was then contrasted with the long period, a number of years, in the care of those persons when the pursuer sustained years of sexual abuse.”

The judgment said the man “thinks that his childhood was ‘stolen’ from him”.

It added: “He was ashamed of what happened to him at the time, he could not understand why it happened.

“He had no adult he could tell or disclose the abuse to. He felt ‘trapped’ and considered that he had ‘nowhere to turn’.”

The man left the foster carer’s home after he finished school, taking a bus to Reading, heading there “because the service to that city was available when he went to the Central Bus Station in Glasgow and that the destination was the furthest for which he could afford the fare”.

But after leaving he had “flashbacks, nightmares and disturbed memories”, which affected both his work and his personal relationships.

While he has had periods of work, he is not currently in a job, with the judgment stating he felt his “continuing flashbacks were an impediment to his ability to obtain employment”.

The man, who obtained four Highers during his time in care, also said he was “100% sure” he would have gone to university if he had not been abused, with the ruling describing him not going into higher education as his “biggest regret in life”.

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said the authority would “take the appropriate time to consider the judgment in full”.

The man’s lawyer, Laura Connor, said the ruling highlights the need for abuse survivors to take legal advice before deciding on whether to accept money from the Scottish Government’s redress scheme.

Ministers set up the Redress Scotland scheme after Holyrood passed legislation in March this year to make payments of up to £100,000 for those who suffered abuse while in care prior to December 2004.

That scheme is scheduled to open to applications in December, but Connor, head of the survivors department at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “It does highlight the need for every survivor to take legal advice before settling.”

Speaking about the Redress Scotland initiative, she added: “The scheme will be right for some people, but not for all.”

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