Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Deadline set for Manchester home abuse victims to come forward

We are appealing for people who were abused as children from the 1950’s to the 1990’s; in Manchester City Council run homes, to speak out about the abuse they suffered.  The appeal comes as a cut off date has been set in which claims for compensation can be made as part of the largest ever group action for alleged child abuse.   The decision was made at a hearing brought by Manchester City Council before the High Court in Manchester on 7th February.  A cut off date has been set for 4pm on Wednesday 7th May 2014, by which time any new victim must have started court proceedings.

In May 2009 we were given High Court clearance to set up a second group of alleged victims who claimed they were abused while in the care of the children’s homes run by the city council’s social services from the 1950’s to the 1990’s.   The action centred on three main homes run by the City Council – Rosehill in Northenden, Broomehouse in Didsbury and Mobberley Boys in Knutsford. A Schedule of other homes where there have been allegations is listed below. 

452 alleged victims have joined the Group to date and 275 cases have been settled for £2,042,510 in total .  The lowest settlement is £1,100 and the highest is £30,000 with the average compensation pay out being around £7,427.31.

In 2007 we represented 168 claimants in the first group action in which we managed to secure compensation amounting to nearly £2,260,000. The group was originally formed in response to a massive police investigation launched by Greater Manchester Police code named “Operation Cleopatra” from Grey Mare Lane Police Station. Starting in 1997 and concluding around 2002, it investigated 66 children’s homes in Greater Manchester, and prosecuted a number of individuals. Manchester City Council Social Services Department ran most of the homes. Former Broome House warden and assistant director of Manchester social services Ronald Hall was eventually jailed for 11 years, with deputy Ian Gray given 14 years and ex-social worker Phillip Roe jailed for 12-and-a-half years.

The two Group Actions added together mean that the compensation paid out to date amounts to £4,302,510, which is the largest ever pay out in any abuse Group Action. The eventual payout is likely to be over £5 million once all the cases settle.

The decision to impose a cut off date now by the High Court was against what we were arguing on behalf of the victims. The Court decided to side with the Council. I was opposed to the idea because new Claimants are continuing to come forward in a steady stream. It is unfair that an arbitrary date has been set for 3 months hence. We have, however, to abide by the Court’s decision. It is very important that as much publicity as possible is given to this announcement because the Court also decided to prohibit any paid advertising, presumably to save the costs for the Council, who are having to foot the bill. If enough new Claimants come forward then we can make an application to the Court to put the date back even further.

If you think you have a case you can speak to one of our specialist male or female solicitors in complete confidence.

Schedule of Homes

Mobberley Boys Home
Seymour Road
Buglawton Hall
Taxal Edge
Various Family Group Homes

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