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Wednesday, 13 February, 2002, 13:54 GMT
Abuse victims battle for more money
Child abuse inquiry graphic
More than a hundred victims are awaiting payouts
Victims of abuse from a children's home in north Wales have begun a legal battle for more money at the Court of Appeal in London.

The 14 former residents of the Bryn Alyn home near Wrexham claim the settlement they received, following the UK's biggest ever inquiry into child abuse, was not enough.

Sir Ronald Waterhouse
Sir Ronald Waterhouse made a number of recommendations

The claimants, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were awarded between 5,000 and 25,000 in a compensation case heard by Mr Justice Connell in June 2001.

It followed an inquiry - centred around 40 homes in north Wales - which resulted in a series of recommendations from Sir Ronald Waterhouse to protect young people in care.

On Tuesday the court heard how Mr Justice Connell had neither "explained nor reasoned" the awards allocated to the abuse victims, and they were so low a review was "necessary and justified".

Duty of care

The claimants barrister, Robert Owen QC, told the court that Bryn Alyn Community Homes Limited - the company the money was awarded against - owed a duty of care to the 14 and were "vicariously liable" for the abuse they had suffered.

"The judge overlooked the existence of the care-workers' duty of care," he argued.

"Bryn Alyn's lax regime and defective system of child care staffed by unmonitored and unsupervised members of staff created the conditions in which abusers such as these were given confidence.

"This court should review the judge's assessment and substitute reasoned and adequate or sufficient awards in each case."

Royal Courts of Justice
The court heard something had 'gone wrong'

Citing the case of a man known only as "C", Mr Owen said he received 10,000 after being abused by male care workers for more than a year.

The court was told how he had arrived at Bryn Alyn having already suffered "serious abusive experiences", and twice tried to commit suicide while at the home.

Mr Owen told the judges that the award of "only" 10,000 to "C" showed "plainly" that something had "gone wrong" with the judge's reasoning.

"You can do justice by ensuring the proper award reflects what was done to him and the consequences that followed from that," he told the judges.

The court heard how a number of teenagers had been sexually, mentally and physically abused by care workers at the home between 1973 and 1991.

Mr Owen added that one girl involved in the case came to the home at the age of 12 suffering from "sexual forwardness".

The barrister argued that she had been "targeted and exploited" by those who were supposed to be looking after her.

The case, being heard in London, continues.

The judges are likely to reserve their decision until a later date.

See also:

26 Jun 01 | Wales
02 Mar 00 | Wales
15 Feb 00 | UK Politics
01 Oct 01 | Scotland
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