THE High Court has ordered that Milton Keynes Council pay almost £320,000 to four children who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of their drunken father.
The award comes after Judge Alison Hampton ruled social workers at the former Buckinghamshire County Council were negligent and failed to protect the children in 1992 and 1993.
But despite the fact it didn’t form until 1997, MK Council will be forced to pay the compensation bill because it took over responsibility for social services from the county council.
On Monday, the court heard how social workers discovered what the father was doing to his young children in 1992 when he confessed all at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.
Although he was told to live elsewhere and the youngsters placed on the child protection register, it was just six months before social services – on the same day social workers held a child protection conference – allowed him to go home to continue his reign of terror for more than another decade.
Judge Hampton said: “If social services had resisted the father’s insistence on returning home, and the mother had been able to separate from the father, the children would have been spared the years of abuse which followed.”
The oldest child “experienced regular and persistent abuse from the age of about four until he was 17”, said the Judge.
Another of the children, abused from the age of five or six until he was 17, was so badly affected he suffers ‘seizures’ when he sees violence or abuse depicted on TV.
The children’s suffering only ended when their father had a stroke.
Justin Levinson, for the children – now aged between 17 and 25 – said social workers closed the case in 1993 but, in 2005, the eldest son reported he had been subjected to sexual and physical abuse by his father. After the other three children made similar allegations, the father admitted 40 counts of sex abuse – including rape, making indecent images of children, gross indecency and indecent assault – and was jailed for life.
Judge Hampton concluded: “I find the defendants (Milton Keynes Council) vicariously liable for the shortcomings of the social work provided to the children’s family.”
A spokesman for MK Council said: “When these events occurred in the early 1990s, the responsibility for social care services in the area lay with the former Buckinghamshire County Council.
“Milton Keynes Council was formed in 1997, and inherited historic liabilities for this case at that time as the successor authority.
“We are committed to ensuring all children in Milton Keynes are protected from abuse and neglect”