Cambridgeshire Children’s Homes Abuse Victims Win Pay-Outs

FOURTEEN victims of abuse in Cambridgeshire children’s homes have been awarded a total of £200,000 in a fourth wave of compensation claims.

The new round of legal settlements by Cambridgeshire County Council follows damages of more than £2.2 million to 85 victims of care home boss Keith Laverack, who sexually abused children in council care in the 1970s and 1980s.

The payouts, which range between £5,000 and £25,000, follow the news that Laverack is due to be released in February after serving two-thirds of his 18-year jail term.

Ten of the claims relate to abuse by Laverack, who held senior posts at the council’s social services department, while four claimants received cash for physical abuse by other care home workers in Cambridgeshire.

Andrew Grove, from Cambridge solicitors Andrew Grove and Company, who is representing the claimants, said: “We all hoped the third wave would be the last of the claims and that the tragedy of Keith Laverack and the Cambridgeshire children’s homes could be brought to a close.

“But there are many more victims who have delayed coming forward because of their reluctance to confront and deal with the trauma of their past, or simply because they had not heard the news of Laverack’s arrest and imprisonment.

“It is likely that more people will come forward as February 2009 approaches when Laverack is to be released.”

Most of Laverack’s offending took place at Midfield observation centre, near Oakington, although this fourth wave of claims also covers victims of physical abuse at children’s homes in Waterbeach, Fitzwilliam Boys’ Hostel, in Cambridge and Queen Street Close, March, from a variety of offenders. However, the most notorious offender was Laverack, who was described as a “Captain Hook figure” by Judge Hew Daniels as he jailed the former care home boss to three consecutive six-year terms in 1997.

He said: “None of these young children consented. They were raped, many of them, with violence and force.”

The latest round of claims has been made possible by a House of Lords ruling against the Lotto winner rapist Iorworth Hoare, which effectively ended the six-year time limit on submitting claims against sexual attackers.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said: “Cambridgeshire County Council has always worked hard to resolve all the bona fide compensation claims as quickly as possible to bring these sad matters for the people involved to a close.”