Devon

Torbay Council pays abused girls £12,000 compensation

Torbay Council has paid out £12,000 to two girls who were sexually abused by two other children in care, a local government watchdog has said.

The case was mentioned in the Local Government Ombudsman's annual report for the financial year 2009-10.

The two children in care sexually abused two girls who lived next door.

The council paid the abused girls £6,000 each, after complaints from their parents, and promised to review the way it handles such incidents.

The ombudsman said that, during the case, the council did not adequately assess the risk posed by the two abusers.

Apology offered

The council was then found to have failed to offer the correct support to the complainants or their daughters afterwards.

Torbay Council's Chief Executive Elizabeth Raikes said the council completely accepted the ombudsman's decision and apologised for any distress caused to the complainants.

"Torbay Council has agreed to make the compensation payments and has learnt from these experiences," she said.

"Children's Services has already taken numerous steps to address the issues - these include reviewing our risk management policies and procedures."

She said the percentage of complaints investigated by the ombudsman was much lower in Torbay than the country's average - 15% compared with 26.9%.

Rubbish complaints

In total, Torbay Council had 43 inquiries and complaints made about it to the ombudsman, resulting in it having to pay out a total of £18,500 in compensation.

Of that, £6,000 was paid out after it wrongly supported court proceedings of natural grandparents trying to re-establish contact with their grandson who had been adopted.

Elsewhere in the county, inquiries and complaints to the ombudsman about Devon County Council rose to 68 from 53 the previous year.

It had to pay out £5,500 after it failed to give the correct support to a complainant after a residence order was put in place to decide which parent a child should live with.

It also had to pay out £2,000 after it put an adult with learning and physical disabilities into unsuitable accommodation after their specialised accommodation run by a housing association closed.

Plymouth City Council saw a drop in inquiries and complaints to 87 from 111 the year before. They were mainly about rubbish collections.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites