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Settlements agreed in Winterbourne View abuse case

19 vulnerable patients who were abused at Winterbourne View will receive compensation

Photo of Winterbourne View Hospital: BBC

28 November 2013

Specialist abuse lawyer Alison Millar has announced that a number of the patients who were assaulted and abused at the private hospital, including her clients, will receive compensation.

Attacks on the learning disabled patients at Winterbourne View were uncovered following a Panorama investigation in 2011 and led to the arrest and imprisonment of six staff.

Nurses and a social worker have been struck off following the attacks which led to wide-spread revulsion after the broadcast of the undercover film which showed patients being dragged by their hair, punched and assaulted.

The company that ran the private hospital, Castlebeck, has since gone into administration.

Ms Millar, who acts for a number of former Winterbourne View patients, said:

“We are pleased that settlements have been agreed and we now hope that our clients and their families can start to make a recovery from the awful experience that they have suffered.

“The amount of compensation agreed is confidential, but the sums can be described as modest. 

“The civil law system is woefully deficient when it comes to determining what is fair compensation for vulnerable people who have been injured, but who are unable to explain and recount their experiences or relate what impact abuse and ill-treatment has had on them.

“It is impossible to translate their experiences into the types of financial losses you would normally recover for someone with capacity who has suffered a personal injury, such as loss of earnings. 

“Much work needs to be done on the long-term effects of abuse on people with cognitive difficulties.”

Charlotte Skouby from the human rights team at Leigh Day, who works with Alison, said:

“It is of great concern to the families we represent that Castlebeck, their directors and their insurers have not been made legally accountable, and that where the gravest ill-treatment is alleged, insurers are able to dispute liability for claims.”

“We very much look to the Department of Health to uphold the commitment in the Winterbourne report Transforming care that our clients and people in similar situations should have personal care plans by June 2014 and should not remain in care setting many miles away from their families.”

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