Compensation for teenager damaged in the womb through mother’s excessive alcohol intake

A teenager who has suffered severe brain damage as a result of her mother drinking alcohol while she was in the womb has been awarded £500,000 in criminal injuries compensation by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The 16-year-old from the north west of England was considered a victim of a crime because her mother persisted in drinking heavily despite warnings from health workers and police about the risks to her unborn child. In a letter to the teenager’s parents, CICA, which administers the taxpayer-funded compensation scheme for injuries caused to victims of violent crime, confirmed that her brain damage was ‘a direct result of the mother’s excessive drinking during pregnancy’.

Malcolm Underhill says: ‘Although the award is for a substantial sum, it is not a true reflection of the harm done to this teenager. Having suffered severe brain damage, she deserves more, to ensure that she has the support and care she requires, for her long-term future. However, the damages are limited because the government imposed a cap on the level of compensation than can be paid to victims of crime. Therefore, while the compensation will go some way to support this young person, it is likely to fall substantially short of what is required. Victims of crime deserve full compensation.’ …

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