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Circuit Court Deems Settlement for Psychological Trauma Too Low

Posted: July 26th, 2015

The Circuit Court has refused to approve a compensation settlement of €15,000 for a young girl who suffered psychological trauma whilst attending a crèche.

The child in question, Emilie Kiely – aged four from Sandyford in Dublin – began attending her Giraffe Crèche when she was just eight months old. By September 2012, she was moved to the “Toddlers Room”, but after the move her parents noticed their child becoming increasingly anxious and worried. This was particularly evident in the morning when they were getting ready to drop her off at the facility.

However, in May 2013, RTE’s Prime Time aired a documentary entitled “A Breach of Trust” that alleged Emilie’s crèche of mistreating its charges. Upon seeing this exposé, Emilie was withdrawn from the crèche. Footage included a carer that was responsible for their daughter screaming at another child.

Emilie parents then sought legal counsel before proceeding to make a claim on behalf of their daughter for the psychological trauma she endured. In the claim, John Kiely – Emilie’s father – alleged that her behaviour had altered after entry to the Toddlers’ Room. He claims that she would cry “No crèche” in the morning and that she was terrorised and upset because of the breach in the crèche’s duty of care.

The claim for compensation was contested by Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre, though an offer of compensation totalling €15,000 was offered without an admission of liability. This offer then had to be presented to a judge for approval, as the claim was made on behalf of a minor.

The case proceeded to the Circuit Civil Court, where it was heard by Judge James O’Donahue. However, the judge ruled that – given the amount of trauma and upset Emilie had endured – that the settlement was not a sufficient sum.

The judge then ruled that the case would have another hearing before a different judge. This will have implications for twenty-five other claims for child psychological trauma compensation made against Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre. Emilie’s parents, along with many other parents of affected children – have also commenced legal action concerning the crèche’s breach of contract.

Categories: Child Accidents

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