Press release: Hampshire man donates compensation child abuse damages to Childline
A Hampshire man who was awarded a five figure sum in damages after suffering child abuse as a boy has donated the entire sum to Childline.
Ian Thompson, 62, had sued the Anglican Diocese of York for the abuse he suffered at the hands of one of its former vicars.
The abuse began in 1963 when Mr Thompson was 11 years old and the vicar was curate of All Saints church in Hessle, Yorkshire. Serious sexual and occasionally physical abuse took place over the next five years.
Mr Thompson was first prompted to report what had happened to him in 1996. He went to his local police station, but after an initial inquiry no further action was taken.
He reported the abuse to police again in 2005 and again no further action was taken. In 2007 he wrote to the church, who told him the priest had retired.
Later he took his allegations to a child abuse specialist lawyer, Tracey Emmott of Bedford-based Emmott Snell. She pursued the matter successfully and the case was settled out of court.
'The case presented difficulties because the priest was dead,' Tracey Emmott explains. 'But we sued the church diocese because they had been his employers, and it had been whilst he was on church duties and because of opportunities presented by those duties that he abused my client.
'The priest was apparently revered by my client's parents, who were delighted he took such an interest in their son.
'So the usual guilt which those abused feel must have been compounded and made it so much more difficult for him to tell what had happened to him.
'It was only much later, as attitudes began to change and it became apparent that historically injustices had been allowed to happen, that he felt emboldened to speak out again.
'Ian's decision to give all of his five-figure damages settlement to Childline is deeply significant.
'He isn't wealthy. He has been an ordinary working man all his life. But for him, the need for his story to be heard and for the law to take him seriously has been met.
'He feels the damages are irrelevant in comparison, and it's that view that has persuaded him to make such a generous gesture which he hopes may help other children.