Vicarious Liability is on the move – again!

The long awaited decision in Natasha Armes (NA) v Nottinghamshire County Council [18.10.2017] UKSC  was handed down today in the Supreme Court by Lord Reed.

The court rejected an argument that the local authority had a non-delegable duty of care but decided (4:1) for the claimant /appellant, Natasha Armes, that the local authority is vicariously liable for physical and sexual abuse suffered by her whilst in foster care and perpetrated by foster carers.

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IICSA – the challenge of keeping all engaged

The Survivors of Organised and Institutional Abuse (SOIA) group have today withdrawn its support for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), with reports saying it has lost confidence in the process.

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Proposed reforms of criminal charge of Misconduct in Public Office and its potential relevance to non recent sexual abuse claims

The ancient common law offence of Misconduct in Public Office had largely fallen into disuse since the late 18th century, but has recently seen an increase in use where there have been allegations of sexual abuse. Following a consultation reform is recommended.

In the last decade the offence has been used in relation to journalists paying police officers for information and more recently it was used to prosecute a clergyman for abusing a group of young men over a 15 year period.

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Shirley Oaks and Redress

The Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (SOSA) has today published its report regarding abuse of children in care at Shirley Oaks. Lambeth Council has indicated that it will make a payment to all residents irrespective of whether or not they were abused, with greater sums for those who did suffer sexual abuse.

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Mandatory Reporting consultation deadline – 13 October

English law does not currently require mandatory reporting of child abuse and neglect. A consultation published in July by the Home Office and Department for Education seeks comments‎ on the introduction of mandatory reporting or a duty to act. Responses are due tomorrow, 13 October, at noon.

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Home Affairs Committee – IICSA

Today the Home Affairs Committee heard oral evidence from the Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP, Home Secretary, and Mark Sedwill, Permanent Secretary, Home Office regarding the work of the Home Secretary. Dame Lowell Goddard who had been invited to attend did not and sent a memo (reported on yesterday) specifying her reasons for her resignation.

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Experimental drug use in approved schools

The BBC Today programme has reported on the use of experimental drugs at two approved schools in the 1960’s. This follows a recent File on Four investigation which reported on the experimental use of a “truth drug” on under age patients at Aston Hall Hospital in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Approved schools were in existence from 1933 until 1973 when they were replaced by community homes with education. They catered for children up to the age of 17 who were in the care of the state due to their criminal offences or because they were in need of protection or control. Responsibility for approved schools rested with central government but the majority were often run by voluntary bodies. The two approved schools mentioned in this article are Richmond Hill in North Yorkshire and Springhead Park School for Girls in Leeds. Aston Hall Hospital was a psychiatric hospital in Derbyshire.

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