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GP sued over abuse silence

A GP is being sued by a former patient for failing to report her sexually abusive stepfather to the police or social services in a case dating back 27 years.

Dr Andrew Cairns, a GP in Worthing, West Sussex, last week denied failing the then 12-year-old victim by not reporting the matter after her mother told him of the abuse.

He said he had done his utmost to protect the victim's safety and welfare. The victim had broken her silence after seven years of abuse and rape by telling her mother.

The mother then telephoned the GP for help because 'she didn't know what else to do', the London High Court heard last week.

Dr Cairns told the court he respected the mother's wishes that the matter be kept 'within these four walls' and that he was also bound by patient confidentiality.

The victim is suing Dr Cairns on the basis that her suffering would have been lessened had he reported the abuse. The hearing continues.

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