A HIGH Court judge says a Blackburn woman who claims social services failed to protect her from sustained neglect as a child can have her day in court.

Council chiefs in Blackburn with Darwen had sought to dismiss the Human Rights Act claims of the woman, only referred to as SZR, who is now 24 and has autism, ADHD and learning difficulties.

The High Court was told SZR alleged she had been exposed to horrendous living conditions at the hands of her mother, who also had learning difficulties, along with mental health problems, and abused alcohol.

In her claim, SZR says she was left ‘living in an extremely dirty house, which smelt of urine and had a significant build-up of rubbish in every room”.

She had ‘dirty and inadequate clothing’, at times had no underwear, was seen “walking around in the filth with nothing on [her] feet” and had an untreated ankle injury for four years which caused her to limp.

Her school nurse is said to have described her head lice as the worst she had ever seen.

The family home, in evidence from 2017, was said have no proper flooring and it was filled with rotting takeaways and full cat litter trays. The kitchen was said to be “full of bin bags, broken furniture and flies”. An enquiry was made over whether she should live with her aunt.

She was taken into care in September 2018, after her 18th birthday, by the borough’s adult social care department. But she insists child social services had been aware of her plight for more than five years by then.

Katie Ayres, for Blackburn with Darwen Council, argued SZR had no reasonable case when it came to proving the treatment was of sufficient severity to cross the ‘high threshold’ required in human rights cases.

She also said the claimant could not establish her client was on notice ‘she was at a real and immediate risk of experiencing such treatment at the relevant times and ‘did not take reasonable measures to safeguard the claimant from the risk’.

Ms Ayres claimed SZR, who was represented by the Official Solicitor, could also not say, but for the alleged breaches, she would not have suffered the treatment outlined.

But Mrs Justice Hill, after reviewing social workers reports from 2016 and ‘graphic’ photos of the home’s condition in 2017, rejected Blackburn with Darwen Council’s attempts to dismiss the case.

Mrs Justice Hill said: “Having reviewed the contemporaneous evidence to the extent appropriate given the nature of this applications, I do not consider that any of the pleaded assertions by the claimant were ones that had ‘no real substance’ or were ‘contradicted’ by the records.

He told the court he accepted the submission of SZR’s counsel, Sam Jacobs, that “...the claimant’s pleaded case, and the evidence on which it relies, makes out an arguable case that the defendant’s failure to remove her earlier has had long-term consequences for her...”