Victims of abuse who claim that councils failed to protect them may not be entitled to compensation.
A Court of Appeal ruling in a case against Poole council could affect thousands of people, including victims of the Rotherham grooming scandal, experts say.
The case was brought by a Dorset woman who claimed that it had failed to protect her disabled son against her neighbours’ antisocial behaviour. In May 2006 the unnamed family moved into a new home arranged by the council. According to the judgment, the council knew “that a family lived in nearby accommodation who engaged persistently in antisocial behaviour”.
The woman and her sons were subjected to “significant harassment and abuse” and one of the boys tried to kill himself, but the appeal judges concluded that: “No duty of care can be owed by a local authority in the exercise of child-protection functions to investigate and take action to prevent significant harm.”