A mother-of-three is celebrating a legal victory after she joined forces with Hope for Justice to campaign for her children’s right to education.
Amanda*, a survivor of sexual exploitation and domestic violence, has received a payout of just under £20,000 from a UK local authority that failed to provide her children with adequate education.
Due to safety concerns when she first moved into the area, the police had advised Amanda that her children should not attend school until their names were changed.
But thereafter, Amanda did not receive any support to enrol one son in mainstream education and another son at a Special Educational Needs (SEN) school with an appropriate Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan.
The children, aged under 10, were therefore out of school for more than one year.
When one of Hope for Justice’s Independent Modern Slavery Advocates (IMSAs) first met with Amanda in spring 2018, they identified that there was potential for a legal challenge against the local authority, and sourced a specialist solicitor.
The matter was settled outside of court, with the relevant local authority agreeing to pay just under £20,000 in damages.
Amanda’s IMSA told us that she was “overjoyed with the result and so pleased that the money will be put in trusts for her children to access when they turn 18, knowing this will give them a head start in life and enable them to pursue the opportunities that they want to when the time comes.”
Amanda said: “I’m so grateful to Hope for Justice and for the support I have received from my IMSA. This would not have happened if the IMSA did not know that a legal remedy could be sought and if they had not referred me to the solicitor.”
Amanda and her family have relocated to another area of the UK. Her solicitor, IMSA and local support have worked together to ensure that her children receive appropriate education in the new location.
The boys have been successfully enrolled in primary education, with one attending a SEN school.
Our IMSA, who has supported Amanda through multiple challenges, said: “Amanda’s complex situation has required joint work between her and our team to get to the point where she is today, living in her own accommodation, receiving the finances she’s entitled to and with a network of support around her. None of this would have been possible without her patience and perseverance.
“Her circumstances are no longer a constant reminder of her past. Thankfully she is now able to move forward and rebuild her life.”
*Name changed to protect identity of victim