Fostering and sexual and religious abuse: Loste


In Loste v France [2022] ECHR (application no. 59227/12) [in French], Ms Loste had been placed in foster care at the age of 5. She complained that the child welfare service, l’association Sauvegarde de l’Enfance (ASE), had not protected her against the sexual abuse to which she had been subjected from 1976 to 1988 by her foster father, Mr B. She also complained that the foster family, who were Jehovah’s Witnesses, had failed to comply with the undertaking that they had given in the form of a religious neutrality clause to respect Ms Loste’s Muslim family background. Mr and Mrs B would take her with them to meetings of the Witnesses and to preaching activities, and when in September 1988 at the age of 17 she was involved in a serious road traffic accident, they wrote to the hospital requesting that she should not be given any blood products [13 & 14].

She lodged a criminal complaint 1999, but in 2000 the public prosecutor at the Montauban Tribunal de Grande Instance told her that he was closing the case without further action on the grounds that it was time-barred [25]. In 2004, she brought a first set of administrative proceedings against the State and was successful at first instance, but the judgment was set aside by the Bordeaux Administrative Court of Appeal and further proceedings were unsuccessful.

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