VICTIMS of paedophile scout leader Nick Thorpe are being urged to come forward and claim compensation for the damage caused to their lives.
Verisona Solicitors & Advocates, based in West Street, Havant, wants to set up civil cases against The Scout Association, which Thorpe was a volunteer for.
As previously reported in The News, Thorpe, 48, was jailed in April last year after he plied two boys with alcohol and sexually abused them at his home between 1996 and 2005 when both were teenagers. His sentence was extended from 13 years to 14 years last month after more victims came forward. Charles Derham, who is part of the child abuse team at Verisona, said not many people were aware that victims could be entitled to compensation worth thousands of pounds.
He believes victims – whose identities are protected by law – could claim between £30,000 and £35,000 in damages if they make contact.
‘In a criminal case people cannot claim compensation but in a civil one they can,’ Mr Derham said.
‘For some people, seeing Thorpe locked up isn’t enough. Compensation can bring a sense of closure.
‘In a civil case we consider how an experience of abuse affects the rest of people’s lives. It often leads to relationship problems, a lack of respect for authority and depression.
‘Some go as far as feeling suicidal.
Thorpe, a former Portsmouth Scout Group leader, was initially snared after a man he abused as a child spotted his photograph in The News and contacted police.
Mr Derham said: ‘We are urging people to get in contact with us. As a victim they have anonymity. Though Thorpe was just a volunteer for The Scout Association, it placed him in a position whereby it had some control of his activities.’
Verisona will send letters to the movement once people start to come forward. The solicitors’ firm then expects it to carry out its own investigations.
Victims are asked to call Mr Derham at Verisona on (023) 9244 6920