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Sexually Abused In Foster Care – How Much Can I Claim?

By Daniel Archer. Last Updated 24th August 2022. Foster care exists to provide secure accommodation and care for minors whilst they are unable to stay with their natural parents. In most cases, good matches are made and fostered children are welcomed into a home where they are provided with all that they need to get through what may be a difficult time in their young lives.

However, in some cases, this has not happened, and through no fault of the child, they have suffered abuse while in foster care. If this has happened to you, you may be entitled to make an abuse compensation claim for any physical or mental injuries you have suffered as a result of that abuse. Here, we offer a guide to making a claim, along with helpful information you need to know before you begin.

Call us with any questions on 0800 073 8804. Or, you can get in touch with us about your claim online.

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A Guide to claiming against the foster care system for sexual abuse

Whether via a voluntary basis or through a Court Order, some children may be placed in a foster care home with foster parents if their living situation is deemed to be causing them harm in some way. Whilst many foster care placements are successful, some cause a child more issues than previously, especially if they are subject to abuse while in foster care.

Whether the abuse is physical, sexual or emotional, this can have a damaging effect on a child that extends well past the time they are in care, and if this has happened to you, you may not already be aware that you can make complaints against foster carers, and pursue a compensation claim. Here, we take you through what a claim for foster care abuse compensation involves, what it covers and what you need to begin a claim.

What is abuse while in foster care?

Whilst foster care is supposed to provide a stable environment for a child whose previous living arrangements could not do, occasionally a child is placed in an environment that is equally as, if not more damaging than their previous home. Foster care abuse is a very serious situation for a child and can lead to long-term detrimental effects on a child that can last well into adulthood.

Foster care abuse can cover a number of different types of abuse, as there are many types of action, or inaction, that could damage a child in some way. It could be neglect; a lack of attention, care and provision of love, or it could be physical abuse or emotional abuse. If you’re wondering can I claim compensation for being sexually assaulted in foster care, the answer is also yes. Each of these types of abuse is equally as seriously as the other, and each can damage a child, mentally and/or physically.

What to do if you are a victim of abuse while in the foster system

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of abuse whilst in foster care, then it is essential to realise that you are not the only victim.

Whilst a large proportion of your case will involve your own personal evidence, there are other steps you can take to help build a strong case. We will obviously be there to ensure we provide legal assistance, but it would also be helpful to your case if you were to have some evidence of what has happened to you.

Photographs of any injuries you have suffered, as well as contact details for anyone who may have witnessed any abuse would be useful. As well as this, it is important to keep any proof of expenses incurred as a direct result of foster care abuse, such as lost income, or perhaps counselling sessions that you have required.

Foster care abuse statistics

Government statistics show that from 2020 to 2021, allegations of abuse were made against 2,600 foster carers. Around two-thirds of these allegations were made by foster children, against their foster carers.

This proportion was similar to the years previous.

Whilst physical abuse made up the majority of these allegations, 8% were still made due to claims of sexual abuse.

However, over half of all of these allegations led to no further action.

How to begin a claim against the foster system

In order to pursue a foster care abuse compensation claim, you simply need to call us. We have experience in helping people just like you, and will handle your case with the sensitivity it deserves, putting you first every step of the way. We aim to make the process as pain-free as possible, and pride ourselves on our exceptional standards of customer care.

The process will begin with a session that is free of charge. We call this a consultancy session. Here, we will establish the facts surrounding your case. From these facts, we will ascertain how strong your case is likely to be, and will explain this to you, along with talking you through the next steps, keeping you fully informed of what needs to happen throughout the process. You won’t be asked for any funds upfront, as we work on No Win No Fee for foster care abuse claims, which means you won’t have to pay out of pocket for any legal fees.

You may be required to attend a local medical centre for a full report on your condition, mental and/or physical, so that we can have an expert’s report, which should be utilised to determine what compensation you should receive.

What can be claimed for if you are a victim of abuse while in foster care?

The things you can claim for after suffering some form of foster care abuse are as follows:

Loss of earnings – You can claim this if your future earnings have been affected, or if you are unable to work due to the effects of the abuse

General Damages – This type of award covers compensation for any suffering or pain you may have experienced as a result of the abuse, whether this is emotionally or physically. Our emotional abuse solicitors have vast experience in the trauma that can be caused by foster care abuse.

Special Damages – Costs that have been incurred as part of your claim are covered here. This includes things like travel costs and medical expenses

Frequently asked questions

How will I pay for my claim? If you want to make a compensation claim for abuse you have suffered while in foster care, then it is important to know that with us, you won’t need to pay any money unless your claim is successful. We operate on a No Win No Fee basis, so it will not cost you any money up front to begin your claim.

Abused foster child

Abused foster child

I don’t know where my foster care parents are living now – Can I still make a claim? It is not always possible to keep track of where your foster parents may have moved to, but we may still be able to take action and build a case against whoever placed you in the foster care home.

Will the police need to be involved? It is essential to try and make sure that foster care abuse is stamped out as much as is possible. An investigation by the police may have already taken place in your case, but if it has not, we would advise you to contact the police and report the incident/s, which may result in a criminal case and/or investigation.

Will I have to face my foster care abuse perpetrator in court? We know this is a pressing question, as the idea of facing your abuser will likely be off-putting to you. However, depending on who the defendant is in your case, whether the local authority or private foster care company, your actual abuser may not be in court at all. If they are, however, we can arrange for your evidence to be given over linked video, or from behind a screen to make things easier on you.

I wasn’t believed then, why will anyone believe me now? We know only too well how hard it can be to speak out after abuse. We believe you and will work hard to ensure that your case is heard, and we help gain compensation for victims of abuse and closure after their terrible experience.

The most common types of foster care abuse

The most common types of foster care abuse are neglect, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and physical and emotional abuse. However, there are other types of abuse that have also been found to have occurred in foster care. These include:

  • Grooming
  • Detrimental sexual behaviour
  • Child trafficking
  • Bullying
  • FGM (Female genital mutilation)
  • Sexual exploitation of a child

The Tanner Case – An example of foster care abuse

It is important to realise that your foster case abuse case is not the only one, and you are not the only victim. An example of one case that was widely reported in the media was the case against Jeffrey and Brenda Tanner, that resulted in the couple being jailed for their shocking abuse of two children that had been placed in their care.

The boy and girl, 12 and 13 respectively, were subject to both physical and mental abuse during more than two years’ stay with the Tanners, and Cambridgeshire Social Services were widely criticised for their staff’s inability to pick up on the signs of this abuse. They were also criticised for allowing the children to be placed in the Tanners’ care despite Mr Tanner’s previous convictions for assault causing bodily harm, and the fact that the Tanners had refused formal foster care training.

Foster home abuse cases can take many forms. Get in touch today if you want to know if you could have a claim.

How much compensation will I get for a foster care abuse claim?

This answer to this question can vary, depending on a number of variables. Because of this, there is no set amount that is awarded to all foster abuse claims.

Instead, this section has been included to help you understand how a criminal injury claim such as sexual and/or physical abuse could be calculated.

Generally, compensation for criminal injuries is awarded to victims by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). It is sometimes true that compensation is paid by the defendant. However, there is no guarantee that they will have the funds to do so.

The CICA is an executive agency of the UK government. It exists so that victims of criminal injuries can still be awarded compensation even if their assailant is never charged, caught, or even identified.

However, you will need to prove on the balance of probabilities that your injuries were caused due to criminal acts.

The CICA has its own tariff when it comes to how much you could be awarded for certain injuries. This includes injuries that may have been sustained due to sexual and physical abuse in the foster care system.

The table below contains the figures that can be awarded for certain injuries. Each figure is an exact fee, and will rarely be deviated from. Only a maximum of 3 injuries can be claimed for from this tariff. The most valuable is awarded at a rate of 100%, then the second most valuable at 30%. Finally, the third most valuable injury is awarded at a rate of 15%.

Awarded For Description Amount
Sexual assault Minor – a sexual act over clothing of a non-penetrative nature £1,000
Sexual assault Minor – as above, but more frequently £1,500
Sexual assault Serious – A non-penetrative act, under the clothing £2,000
Sexual assault Serious –  a pattern of sexual acts under the clothing, non-penetrative £3,300
Sexual assault A pattern of frequent, non-penile penetrative acts over a period of up to 3 years £6,600
Sexual Assault Non-penile penetrative acts that lead to severe mental illness £27,000
Sexual assault Penile penetration without consent of the anus, vagina, or mouth (1 incident) £11,000
Sexual assault Non-consensual penile penetration of the anus, mouth or vagina that results in serious internal bodily injuries £22,000

There are other things such as an unwanted pregnancy or the contraction of a sexually-transmitted disease that can occur. These occurrences are not subject to a reduced payout amount and are awarded at their full rate.

Get in touch if you have any questions.

Sexually Abused In Foster Care – More Compensation Payout Examples

If you have been a victim of abuse in foster care, then you could also be eligible to receive other amounts as well. This includes a figure known as special expenses. This aims to compensate you for the financial impact that suffering foster care sexual abuse has had on you. For example, you could potentially claim for mobility aids such as wheelchairs or home adaptations such as a stairlift.

This portion of your sexual abuse compensation will vary in its value depending on the level of financial loss you have experienced, or may experience in the future.

You could also potentially claim a loss of earnings payment if you have been unable to take on paid work for longer than 28 weeks.

To find out more, get in touch with your advisors today.

No win No Fee Abuse Claims

Whilst many people not experienced in dealing with legal claims for compensation may expect to be charged by their solicitors by the hour, one of the reasons many people prefer to use our service over another is that the solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis.

This ensures that even those who would not normally be able to afford legal fees are not held back from making a claim. No Win No Fee means that you will not be expected to pay for legal fees unless your case is successful. If, for some reason, your claim is not upheld, you will not be left with a bill for legal fees that you cannot afford. In fact, you will not have to pay us at all.

This is why you can be confident that we will not take on your case just to make money. If, for some reason, we do not believe your case will result in an award for compensation, we will tell you honestly. We have no reason to mislead you as to how strong your case is; we simply want to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve without causing you more stress than you are already under.

Why choose us as your claims service for your abuse claim?

We know that there are plenty of other firms that might promise you they will deal with your claim in the best possible way. However, not all of these will suit your needs. As a firm that is experienced in foster care abuse claims, we know only too well how difficult it can be to speak out about your abuse, let alone recover for it, so we promise to take as much stress as possible out of the process so that you can concentrate fully on recovering from your ordeal, whilst we work hard to ensure that you are awarded the maximum abuse compensation claim amount possible.

Any company can promise you that they will take your case seriously, but we can prove we have done so time and time again. Our strong customer focus and years of experience in pursuing historical abuse compensation has enabled us to secure pay outs for thousands of personal injury cases over the years, and over these years we will have dealt with claims just like yours. On top of all this, you’ll be able to be comforted by the fact that we work on a No Win No Fee basis, so you won’t be expected to dole out large amounts of money in order to entrust us with your claim.

Call us for free advice and to make a claim

If you are interested in making a claim for compensation for abuse you have suffered while in the foster care system, then why not call our friendly, understanding and professional advisors, who have experience of listening to foster care abuse stories.

They can talk you through the process further and answer any other questions you may have about compensation for abuse in foster care. Simply dial 0800 073 8804 to be connected to one of our team, who will handle your call with the utmost confidentiality, discretion and understanding.

If you feel that it is time to proceed with the process of making a claim, you will be matched with a No Win No Fee highly-experienced solicitor who is based in house. Matching you to a solicitor who is best placed to help you with the complexities of your case will give you the best chance of receiving a historic abuse claims compensation award that amounts to the maximum possible.

Useful Links

You may also be interested in some of our other guides on criminal injury compensation claims:

We also have some other guides on sexual abuse compensation claims that you may find useful:

Reporting child abuse/ neglect

The Child Welfare Information Gateway provides information about the definition of Child Abuse in its many forms. Whilst this is a US based site, it also provides a wealth of information that will help you see that what has happened to you is unlawful in other countries, as well as the UK.


The NSPCC provides information about what the law says about protecting ‘Looked after’ children, and explains the work that the charity carries out to help them.

Local authority care child abuse

Citizens Advice Bureau have provided a guide to specifically explain what to do if you are, were or know a child who may have suffered abuse in foster care


Childline is a charity that work to protect children from all walks of life. They provide a helpline to call if you, or someone you know needs to speak to someone in confidence.

NSPCC advice on historical abuse

The NSPCC has written a guide showing what some of the signs of historical abuse cases are, and explains why this may differ from signs shown at the time of abuse. You can report child neglect anonymously online in the UK.

Citizens Information

Citizens Information provides more information on how to support someone who has been the victim of child abuse, and how to report it in Ireland. It also provides a good definition of the types of abuse a child might suffer.

Government advice on reporting sexual assault

The Government provides information on how to report a sexual assault, whether for historical abuse claims, or recent assaults.

NHS help for victims

The NHS reveal why it’s essential to get help after sexual assault, and what you need to do after you have been a victim of this crime.

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    Meet The Team

    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.

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