The compensation myth

As a lawyer who represents victims of child abuse in children's homes, I would like to respond to Richard Webster's article "The new injustices" (28 January).

Webster rehashes the argument that those who have alleged that they were abused in care homes do so due to "the availability of compensation". He offers no empirical evidence whatsoever to support this claim; nor could he, as only a minority of those who have made complaints of abuse actually submit compensation claims. In the case of Operation Care, to which Webster refers, only about 32 per cent of complainants have made compensation claims; the figures for other police investigations are even lower.

In the North Wales investigation, the vast majority of allegations of abuse were made in the early 1990s, six or seven years before compensation claims were initiated in 1998.

Richard Scorer
Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire

This article first appeared in the 11 February 2002 issue of the New Statesman, Take cover: evil is back