IT is a depressing indictment of Britain’s ‘compensation culture’ that the more outlandish – and frivolous – claims, and resulting publicity, can, in turn, reflect badly on those genuine victims seeking recompense for terrible traumas which will inevitably haunt them for the rest of their lives.
Victims like the hundreds of people living with the scars of appalling sexual and physical abuse of those grooming gangs which were allowed to exploit vulnerable people, predominantly women, in Yorkshire towns and cities for too long before the authorities act.
They’re quite within their rights to be seeking legal redress from those local councils, and police forces, who were negligent of failing to treat the claims of victims seriously from the outset.
Yet, while the cumulative total of the claims will have an impact on budgets which are already overstretched after a decade-long spending squeeze, the fact of the matter is that an acknowledgement of liability is key to helping some abuse victims receive closure before trying to rebuild their shattered lives.
As such, it is beholden on the authorities responsible to try to bring these cases to a speedy resolution – prolonging legal arguments or hoping that the individuals involved will simply give up – only adds to the costs and heartache. Only 45 have been settled, with hundreds more outstanding.
But another more fundamental point needs to be made in light of the latest revelations by The Yorkshire Post about the seven councils facing compensation claims. Each case is another painful reminder that the needs of victims need to come first at all times and a lot of work still needs to be done before all those exploited by CSE grooming gangs will command confidence in the criminal justice system, and those bodies ultimately responsible for the safety of the most vulnerable on their streets.