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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 January, 2004, 17:22 GMT
Legal aid for bullying damages bid
Natalie King
Natalie has stopped going to school
A schoolgirl has been granted legal aid to bring a test case against an education authority for alleged school bullying, BBC Scotland has learned.

Natalie King, from Newmachar, Aberdeenshire, claims she suffered educational and psychological damage.

Her family said they had recorded 700 bullying incidents against the teenager since she was six, in four different Aberdeen city schools.

Aberdeen City Council said it would robustly defend any action.

A spokesman also denied negligence by any member of council staff.

Natalie, who is now 15, claims her experiences have affected everything she does, even outside school, making her nervous of things like going to concerts or travelling on buses.

I'm delighted that we've got legal aid, it obviously proves that we have got enough evidence for the legal aid to award it to us
Jacqui King

She has now had to leave school and is studying from home to try and complete her exams.

"It's the flashbacks and the memories which make you feel ill and really dizzy," she told BBC Radio Scotland's Newsdrive programme.

"Sometimes it gets bad and you can't even write because you're shaking so much."

Her mother Jacqui said her family wants justice and accountability for what Natalie has suffered.

"I'm delighted that we've got legal aid, it obviously proves that we have got enough evidence for the legal aid to award it to us and I look forward to getting to court," she said.

"We would like to move on, but Natalie can't move on until we've got some justice."

Lawyer Cameron Fyfe said he had 30 other clients considering bringing similar actions.

He said the basis of the case was an allegation of breach of duty of care.


WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Scotland's Colin Wight
"Natalie's claims will now be heard in court"



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