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How To Claim Compensation Against Social Services?

By Max Mitrovic. Last Updated 2nd August 2022. In this guide we focus on making claims against social services when they have caused you harm through negligent behaviour. Please read on to find out about the process of suing social services. We’ll also look at potential compensation amounts for cases won against social services.

In the United Kingdom, Social Services for children work with a number of different agencies in order to provide support for children who are placed up for adoption within families, children who may need looking after for any reason, those who might be suffering abuse, neglect or be in need of protection, as well as families where children are assessed as being in need.

suing social services

claims against social services

When a referral is made to Social Services, they are obligated to investigate the situation to ensure that the children involved are safe and not in harm’s way. Harm is described as the ill-treatment or the impairment of development or health including, for instance, impairment suffered from hearing or seeing another person being ill-treated. Ill-treatment includes sexual abuse as well as other forms of ill-treatment, which are not always physical. Health means both mental and physical health. And, development means behavioural, social, emotional, intellectual and physical development.

There have been a number of Social Services failures over the years, including a number of famous cases. Perhaps one of the most famous cases was the death of “Baby P”. Baby P, whose real name was Peter Connelly, endured an agonising death at the age of 17 months old in the property he shared with his mother and her boyfriend.

The baby experienced 50 different injuries, including a broken back, which was allegedly missed by his doctor. This resulted in five people being sacked at Haringey Council Children’s Services, including the head of the department. A number of damning enquiries revealed that 60 opportunities were missed to save baby P.

Other famous cases that resulted in children dying due to Social Services being inadequate in their investigations include the death of two-year-old Demi Leigh Mahon in Manchester, nine-year old David Stocker from Romford who died of a salt overdose fed by his mother, and eight-year-old Victoria Climbie who was starved to death after prolonged abuse at the hands of her guardians in London.

While there are lots of amazing social work that is being carried out across the country, there is no denying that there has also been a number of significant failings. However, the problem is that a lot of people think that Social Services are above the law and there is nothing they can do if they’ve been the victim of negligent conduct.

This could not be further from the truth. If you have been the victim of negligent social services, then you have an extremely high chance of being eligible for child abuse compensation and it is important that you get the payout you deserve. Read on to discover everything you need to know about suing social services.

In the meantime, you can get in touch with us with any issues you may have regarding your claim.

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A complete guide to claiming against social services

Welcome to our guide on how to make claims against social services. We’ll explore what can social services do and not do, as well as other topics.

Being the victim of any type of abuse can be exceptionally traumatic and the matter can be unfortunately made worse if you are then failed by Social Services. So, you may be wondering; can I take legal action against social services?

The answer is yes, you can take legal action against if this has happened to you or someone that you love. You could be able to make a claim irrespective of whether the abuse or negligence that you have suffered happened recently or a long time ago when you were a child.

Similarly, you can also claim if you have been wrongly accused by Social Services. You may want to know about suing social services for harassment, for example. In this guide, you will find out all of the information you need about making such a claim, including parents’ rights against social services, how to launch a claim for social services compensation payouts, reasons for social services to remove a child, the process that is involved when launching claims against social services, and much more. You will also find out contact details at the end of the guide if you have any more questions or you are ready to make a claim.

Who are social services?

Before we look at how to make claims against social services, let’s first learn a little more about this organisation.

In the UK, social services have a statutory obligation to promote the welfare and safeguard the wellbeing of children that are vulnerable. Social services can also provide a broad selection of services to children and their parents. A lot of families feel worried and anxious when social services get involved because of experiences they may have heard from other people because they are frightened that they will lose their children. There are a number of reasons social services would take a child, but this is certainly not always the outcome, as more often Social Services are there to help you.

There are a number of different reasons for social services to get involved with children/parent/ guardian relationships. This includes the following:

● Help families determine any issues that are impacting the children and to guide them to the correct support and services that are available in the community

● If there is concerns that a child has suffered an injury that was not an accident

● When a child has been taken into care after the police have intervened on an emergency basis or there has been a court order

● The parent has requested that the child is placed in residential care or foster care on a temporary basis as an emergency to assist them with challenging behaviour or to give them a planned break or a number of short breaks due to stress

● When there are concerns relating to alcohol and drugs

● If there has been child protection issued for the child, for example, including cases where adults have been engaged in violence and this could result in the child being harmed

● A GP or teacher has made a referral or request

● A family has requested that the Social Services provide family support services at times of stress

If your child is deemed in need of help or at risk, your local government Social Services department have a duty to explore the situation to determine what action should be taken to ensure the child is safe and well. You should work alongside the Social Services as best as you can. While you may feel anxious and worried if you are contacted by Social Services, the best thing to do is not panic. Unless there are reasons otherwise, the Social Services will always write to you and let you know that an initial assessment is being conducted. This will take place within a specific number of days and in most cases, this will result in them giving you support and any other services that you require.

Please read on for more information about suing social services.

What social services can do

We often get asked what social services can and can’t do. For example, you may have questions such as can social services stop contact without a court order?

In short, Social Services can provide support for families. There are different departments to support varying needs. For example, there are social care services for addiction, mental illness, abuse and much more.

Social Services are also well within their right to carry out a child protection investigation if they feel that this is necessary. This is known as a Section 47 enquiry. This means that they will conduct a complete investigation to make sure that the child is receiving the correct level of care and that he or she is not being abused or neglected. In order to carry out this investigation, they will conduct a number of interviews with you, and they are allowed to contact other professionals, including your child’s GP and school.

What social services can’t do

Can Social Services take my child away? What are my rights against social services? These are two questions we’ll aim to answer in this section.

A lot of people worry that social services are going to take away their children. While they are allowed to do this, they can technically only legally do so if they have reason to believe the child is at harm. If your child has been taken away, you can receive legal advice on how to win your child back from Social Services.

Social services statistics

According to government statistics regarding children being looked after in England (including adoption), the figure has taken a 2% increase between March 31st 2019, and the same date in 2020. Whilst this may not seem like much, the increase in percentage amounts to almost 2,000 additional children.

In the year ending March 31st 2019, the number of children who were currently adopted totalled 3,590. This decreased by 4% the following year. This 4% amounted to almost 150 fewer children.

Whilst this fluctuation in figures does not show us how many claims were made against social services, it does give us an idea as to how many children are currently in social care and similar situations.

suing social services graph

Social services and child abuse – How they can get it wrong

There are many different ways Social Services can get it wrong, and this is why there are various claims against Social Services made in the UK. Nevertheless, it will typically fall into one of two categories.

The first is taking action when it was not warranted, i.e. accusing someone of child abuse and taking a child away when this was not the case. The second is failing to take action when it was required, i.e. failing to pick up on and act on evident signs of abuse.

Both situations can have an extremely detrimental impact on the people involved. Cases of missed abuse can often result in death or serious injuries. Cases of being wrongly accused can cause severe psychological injury and could mean a parent losing access to their child for many years. No matter what has happened, Legal Expert know how to fight Social Services and win. We have a great team of solicitors who take on Social Services, so please call us today for more information on claiming compensation from social services.

Making claims against social services – reasons you might have

Some of the most common reasons for making claims against social services social workers are as follows:

  • Abuse by foster carers
  • Removal of children without legal permission
  • Negligence of social services
  • Abuse while in care
  • Abuse claims against a social worker

If you have experienced any of these situations or you want to make a claim against social services for any other reason, please get in touch.

Can I Sue Social Services for Distress After a Data Breach?

The Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK GDPR help regulate how data protection functions within the UK.

If you’re wondering if you can sue social services for distress, you should know this purely depends on your circumstances. As per the regulations, all organisations need to protect your personal data by handling it correctly.

So, in relation to a data breach, successfully suing social services would partly revolve around proving that they failed to take sufficient action to protect your data. This is often referred to as positive wrongful conduct. This could be an error they made in exposing your personal data or an inaction that led to them not complying with the UK GDPR.

You don’t technically need a solicitor to make a claim, although their experience and expertise could be useful. Solicitors that can sue social services successfully will review your circumstances to see if they can determine if social services haven’t complied with the necessary regulations.

Examples of potential data breach claims include:

  • A mother and daughter could be relocated due to being victims of domestic abuse. If social services haven’t correctly updated their address details, a letter could be sent to their old address that includes sensitive information that could expose their new location. This could lead to the perpetrator being able to cause more harm.
  • Due to an email error, sensitive information about relocated children could be sent to many unauthorised people, which could jeopardise the children’s safety.

To learn more about whether you can claim, please contact us for free using the details above.

I was abused in a care home – can I claim against social services?

The simple answer to this question is; yes. There have been a number of cases of child abuse in care homes, and we will discuss one of the high-profile cases later in this guide so you can better understand the process of suing social services for care home negligence.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of abuse in a care home, this can be exceptionally traumatic to come to terms with. Our panel of expert solicitors who take on Social Services have worked on many cases like this before. If you have a valid claim, they will work as hard as they can to get you the compensation that you deserve.

For more information on how to make claims against social services call our team.

I was abused in foster care – would social services pay compensation?

Yes, if you have been abused at the hands of your foster parents, you could be entitled to compensation. You may also be entitled to a payout if Social Services failed to recognise the signs of abuse. The Human Rights Act 1998 was put in place to ensure that everyone was treated equally. This includes children in care. So, even social services must abide by these rules. Suing social services could be the very step you need to take if you feel a child’s human rights have been violated or ignored.

Foster parents are in the ultimate position of trust, and when they abuse this, it is vital that they are brought to justice. We have helped many children who have been abused to launch claims against their foster parents, so they can try to move on with their lives. Call us today for more information on child abuse social services claims and how to fight social services and win.

 What Evidence Is Needed In A Claim Against Social Services

This guide has answered questions such as “what are my rights against social services?” by highlighting what social workers can and can’t do. If you do want to claim against the social services, it’s important that you have evidence showing how their negligent actions have caused you or your children harm.

Given the type of damages you’re wanting to claim for, potential evidence could include:

  • Photographic evidence of any injuries.
  • Video evidence of abuse. This could include, for instance, CCTV footage if any is available.
  • Correspondence with the Social Services.
  • Notes from you detailing the series of events.
  • Witness statements. If, for instance, you or your child has suffered some form of abuse, statements from witnesses can clarify what occurred.
  • Police reports. If some of this abuse has been reported to the police, these reports can help clarify what was reported and when. They could also show what, if anything, has been done since.

To learn more about the claims process or to see if you can claim, please contact us at a time that suits you. Our solicitors know how a claim against social services in court could progress and can help you build a case.

Social Services Compensation Payouts For 2022

When compensation is being calculated, there are often a few different figures to consider. The one universal to most claims is known as general damages. This is the sum that is awarded to you due to both the physical pain and the mental suffering caused by the injuries associated with the accident or incident.

To arrive at a suitable figure, a publication known as the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) is often consulted by legal professionals. These guidelines consist of a list of injuries and what their general damages payment could be worth. The list is quite extensive, but occasionally a bespoke figure will need to be put together to account for any unusual cases.

General damages are often affected by things like the severity of the injuries and the recovery time. The more severe the injury, the more the claim tends to be worth. The same is often true of longer recovery periods.

It’s important to note that if the injury sustained classifies as a criminal injury such as sexual abuse, assault or an act of violence, then your general damage payment will be calculated and processed a different way. Criminal injury claims are handled by a government body called the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). So, be aware that the figures and processes mentioned in this article may not necessarily apply to your circumstances.

Below, we have included a table that lists some example figures for certain injuries as listed in the latest edition of the JCG. It was last reviewed in April 2022

InjuryDescriptionCompensation Bracket
Sexual abuse Severe - Cases of serious abuse. Instances at the higher end of the bracket will have an impact on how the person can cope with life and work and maintain relationships. There may have been false imprisonment. £45,000 to £120,000
Sexual abuse Moderate - Where the seriousness and length of period of abuse is lower and there's less of an impact on life, work and relationships. £20,570 to £45,000
Sexual abuse Less severe - Where the abuse was less serious and the psychiatric impact is mild or was resolved quickly. If there are any aggravating features, they will be few. £9,730 to £20,570
Brain Damage(c) Moderate - (iii) things like memory and/or concentration may be reduced as a result - small risk of epilepsy£43,060 to £90,720
Arm(b) - one or both of the forearms could have sustained serious fractures, leaving either cosmetic or function permanent damage£39,170 to £59,860
Fingers(f) Severe - could lead to partial amputation, impaired grip etc.Up to £36,740
Leg(c) Less serious - (ii) simple femur fracture£9,110 to £14,080
ClavicleThe level will vary, but be largely dependent on the severity of the fracture and how long it takes to recover from£5,150 to £12,240
Wrist(e) - a Colles fracture that has no additional complicationsIn the region of £7,430
Psychiatric Damage(d) Less Severe - the amount will depend on how long the disability lasts and whether things like sleep have been affected as a result£1,540 to £5,860
Chest Injuries(g) - fracture of ribs or injuries to the soft tissue that cause serious pain, but only for a period of weeksUp to £3,950

Alternatively, you could use a criminal injuries compensation calculator to get an estimate of how much your claim is worth. If you choose to do so, please only use the figures as a guide.

For more information on what compensation you could receive after suing social services.

Social services claims – Shirley Oaks

At this point in our guide to making claims against social services, we’re going to look at a horrific high-profile case study that could help illustrate why these types of claims may be made.

There have been a number of high-profile child abuse claims in the news, many of which involve instances where Social Services have failed. Shirley Oaks is undoubtedly one of the most prolific cases and ex-residents were granted compensation amounts of around £10,000 each as a small gesture for the suffering that they were so heinously subjected to.

Shirley Oaks is an ex-network of children’s homes in South London. A report was conducted covering a period from the 1950s until 1983 when the homes were closed. It concluded that there were at least 60 active abusers working within the network, carrying out what has been described as ‘industrial scale’ abuse.

Not only did this cause irreparable damage to the countless victims within the care system but there were also numerous deaths that have now been linked to Shirley Oaks. These were apparent ‘suicides’ that are now known to have been conducted by the perpetrators in attempts to cover up their sickening abuse from getting out.

It remains one of the most horrific and shocking abuse cases in history. Since then, Lambeth Council has paid around £100 million to former residents, irrespective of whether or not they were abused, with those that suffered the abuse first-hand receiving bigger payouts for obvious reasons.

Historical abuse claims against social services – how do they work?

Unlike standard compensation claims, you do not only have three years to make a negligence claim against Social Services. You can make a claim for historical sexual abuse that happened many years ago, so please do not fear that you have left it too late to claim.

What can be claimed for in claims against social services?

When making claims against social services, you will be able to receive Social Services compensation payouts for the following:

  • The physical pain and suffering experienced
  • The emotional pain and suffering experienced
  • Loss of earnings
  • Medical bills
  • Counselling expenses
  • Care claim
  • Any other costs associated with your suffering

No Win No Fee claims against social services

When you make claims against social services with Legal Expert, you have our complete assurance that it will be on a No Win, No Fee basis.

If you are unfamiliar with No Win No Fee solicitors agreements against Social Services claims, they have been designed to make sure that the victim claiming personal injury compensation does not need to pay any legal fees if his or her claim is not a success. If the claim is a success and compensation is granted, the legal fees will come from the payout. This will be a percentage of the compensation that both the solicitor and the claimant have agreed on beforehand.

This is a highly beneficial service because it means that anyone can claim; it does not matter how much money you have in the bank. It also means that by making a claim you are not going to risk being out of pocket. There are so many people throughout the country that have missed out on compensation they were entitled to because they assumed they could not afford legal services or that they may be left with a big bill and no payout at the end of it.

This is something you never have to worry about with us. You also have the peace of mind of knowing that your solicitor is completely accountable for the service they provide, as they are impacted by the outcome. This ensures there is never any time-wasting. If your case for suing social services is not strong enough, we will tell you.

Finding Solicitors that Deal With Social Services

It could be a lot of hassle finding solicitors that deal with social services.  It is advisable to work with solicitors who are specialists in social services claims. Working on these types of cases can require experience as the types of claims against social services can vary widely. 

The right solicitors may improve your chances of getting the maximum amount of compensation that is due to you.

At Legal Expert, our solicitors have many years of experience in taking legal action against social services and getting compensation from the council and local authorities. We have successfully helped people make a claim against social services and can help you too.

If you contact our advisors, you will receive free legal advice. Moreover, they could connect you with one of our solicitors if you have a valid claim. 

You do not need to pay any upfront costs to work with one of our solicitors. There is also no need to pay the solicitor’s fee as the case is ongoing. 

No Win No Fee agreements can help you to access the services of a solicitor affordably. You do not need to pay the solicitor’s fee at all if you do not win your claim. A small percentage of your compensation would be taken if your claim is successful. This is to cover the solicitor’s work and it’s capped by law.

If you want to start a No Win No Fee claim, please call us using the number at the top of the screen. You can also have a conversation with us in real-time using the chat message pop up at the lower part of your screen. Or you can also fill out the form on this page to reach us.

Why choose Legal Expert for claims against social services?

When making claims against social services, it is vital that you choose a legal firm with care. You need a company that you can trust. This is exactly what you will benefit from when you choose Legal Expert.

Our reputation in the industry speaks for itself. We have helped thousands of personal injury victims to get the compensation they deserve, launching a huge range of cases, including those against social services. When you contact us, we will provide you with a free consultation and then supply you with a specialist solicitor with up to 30 years of experience. This will be a solicitor that has worked on cases similar to yours before. We will be there for you every step of the way, ensuring you get the maximum amount of compensation that you are entitled to.

We will always ensure you get the space you need during this traumatic and upsetting time. We will never pester you or make the claim process troublesome. We put our clients first because we genuinely care about your recovery. This is why we do what we do: so that people like you can get the justice you deserve. You will feel comfortable and at ease with our friendly team.

Get in touch for social services claims advice or to start yours

If you want to make claims against social services for the abuse you suffered or if you are thinking about claiming on the behalf of someone else, please do not hesitate to get in touch. When you contact us at Legal Expert, we will provide you with free advice, with no obligation to continue with our service, so you have nothing to lose by speaking to one of our helpful advisors.

 claims against social services

claims against social services

The number you need is 0800 073 8804. This is our claim helpline, which is open 24/7. If you would prefer, you can enter your contact information into the call back box and we will get in touch with you as soon as we can. Alternatively, you can use the live support feature on our website to speak to an advisor via instant messaging, or you can send an email to Our email address is monitored on weekdays only, and we aim to respond to all enquiries within three years.

Please rest assured to all phone calls and claims are handled with complete confidentiality. We are happy to answer any questions you may have, including explaining the suing social services process, providing advice on how to get social services off your back, and providing information on the removal of child claims against Social Services.

How to make claims against social services FAQs

Can I take legal action against social services?

Providing social services failed to uphold their legal duty of care, leading you or a loved one to suffer as a result. Please get in touch today to learn more about your rights.

What is classed as neglect by social services?

According to the NSPCC, neglect is an ongoing failure to meet a child’s most basic needs. Neglect is considered the most common form of child abuse, by which they may be left hungry, dirty or without necessary clothing, housing or supervision.

How long do I have to claim?

Personal injury claims have 3-year time limits whereas criminal injury claims have 2-year time limits.

How much compensation am I entitled to?

Without learning more about your case, we can’t estimate how much you could claim. This is because claims vary from case to case, meaning the payouts they yield do too.

What damages could I claim?

As part of a typical personal injury claim, general damages could compensate for physical and mental trauma, whereas special damages could compensate for financial losses like loss of earnings or treatment fees.

Do I need to get a lawyer?

Though there isn’t any legal requirement to have a sexual abuse solicitor handle your case, having one could significantly increase your chances of securing the maximum compensation you deserve for your suffering. Making legal proceedings against a large-scale organisation such as social services can be particularly challenging, so it’s important you’re prepared.

Where can I find a lawyer?

At Legal Expert, our panel of specialist solicitors have more than 30 years of experience. What’s more, they will always handle your case on a No Win No Fee basis, so there’s no need to look elsewhere for a better service.

How can I contact Legal Expert?

Please scroll up to our contact section for some options or use our live chat for an instant response.

Useful links

Police investigations for child abuse

This link contains information on what the police do when they are investigating allegations of child abuse, including details on statements and medical examinations.


The NSPCC helps children that are suffering from any type of abuse. Head to their website for more information.

Litigation Friends

Find out about the process of appointing another adult to pursue a claim on the behalf of someone else.

Reporting abuse

Use this link if you need to report child abuse in the UK. This includes details on what you should report, and when you should report it.

Government Statistics

This link takes you to the UK Government website where you will find statistics regarding the number of children in the UK that are under local authority care.

Criminal Injuries Timescale

Here’s some information regarding how long it takes to make a criminal injury. Remember, it can differ from the process of suing social services.

Data Breach Compensation

Visit our guide exploring the compensation you could receive following a data breach incident.

How To Avoid No Win No Fee Scams

For more information on finding the right agreement for you, see our guide.

How To Find No Win No Fee Solicitors In The UK

A guide to finding No Win No Fee solicitors

Other Guides You May Find Useful

Cases mentioned earlier in this article

We hope our guide on how to make claims against social services has been useful to you. If you have any enquiries about matters related to this subject, such as hiring solicitors that can sue social services, then you can contact our team of advisors on the phone or online using the contact details found in this guide.

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