Claims arising from physical and sexual abuse can be challenging and traumatic for all concerned, regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred.
Ecclesiastical is often asked by defendants what action should be taken where allegations of abuse are made against them and the claimant is asking for some assistance, short of making a formal legal claim. The concern defendants have is that to take any action at all may imply a legal liability and may prejudice the position of their insurance company.
It is important that defendants understand that offering an apology or offering pastoral care and/or counselling sessions to the claimant can be extremely important in helping the claimant and can be offered without prejudicing insurance cover. We believe the response given by defendants to claimants should not be done in such a way that it is experienced as negative, resistant or unhelpful as this may create relationship difficulties and worsen the claimant’s wellbeing.
Claimant: the victim or survivor of abuse who is making the claim
Defendant: the insured organisation, or those with assumed vicarious responsibility for the action of the organisation’s employee/s or representative/s accused of abuse
These terms may vary in Scotland and Northern Ireland.