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KCR v The Scout Association – Compensation Awards in Abuse Cases

by Emma Flood Curated Media on April 7, 2016

The case of KCR v The Scout Association [2016] EWHC 597 (QB) concerned the abuse of a young boy suffered at the hand of his Cub Scout Group Leader in the 1980s. The boy’s abuser was convicted of a great number of sexual offences carried out against young boys, including the claimant in 2003. The defendant, in this case, The Scout Association admitted vicarious liability in the subsequent civil action for damages.

The interesting aspects of this case were both the claim for loss of past and future earnings and the assessment of whether money paid to the boy by his abuser at the time of the abuse, should be deducted from the compensation awarded to him

Claim for Loss of Earnings

The difficulty in making such a claim for loss of past and future earnings is, of course, the issue of establishing causation. The claimant contended that he was entitled to an award of loss of past and future earnings as he had been unable to find and sustain suitable employment as a result of the abuse he suffered. However, the claimant’s childhood had already been difficult. His mother and father separated on the grounds that his father had been violent towards his mother. The claimant began using drugs in his early teens and subsequently became a drug-dealer with a few short spells in employment. The claimant also has a number of convictions relating to drugs, violence, and firearms. The court denied the claim for loss of earnings, preferring the defendant’s argument that the claimant’s inability to find and sustain employment was as a result of his ‘lifestyle choices’ as opposed to the abuse suffered. The defendant did, however, concede that the claimant was entitled to general damages which the court assessed to be £48,000. However, an almost shocking argument was put forward by the defendant in relation to what may be deducted from this amount.

What should be deducted from damages compensation?

Arguably the most unusual aspect of this case was that at the time the abuse was being carried out, the claimant began blackmailer his abuser. The claimant along with another boy demanded cash and other possessions, in return for silence about the abuse. The defendant, in this case, put forward the amount extorted from the Cub Scout Leader should be deducted from the total compensation amount. The defendant outlined that the claimant himself had described the blackmail payments as ‘compensation’ in a police statement.

This submission on the part of the defendant seems so glaringly unattractive that is surprising it was even put forward. It was dismissed by the judge on two grounds-

Firstly that they payments were to be considered ‘gifts’ and could not thus be considered ‘compensation’. Secondly, that as a matter of public policy, the judge could not reduce the claimant’s damages award as a result of the defendant’s suggestion.

This point is interesting as many abuse cases involve wealthy abusers bribing their victims, including many cases currently making their way through the courts. It will be interesting to see in what, if any circumstances payments made to victims would be deducted from the damages award.

Emma Flood Curated Media

Emma Flood Curated Media

Legal Copywriter and Legal Marketing Assistant for Personal Injury Law Firms at Curated Media
Emma Flood is a first class law graduate in the UK. Legal Content Writer and Marketing Assistant at Curated Media, Emma and the team write bespoke legal content for law firms across the UK and can help you make the most out of the Internet through effective content marketing. Visit www.curatedmedia.co.uk to find out more.
Emma Flood Curated Media

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