For anyone who has suffered sexual or physical abuse the effects can be devastating and affect a person’s life in many ways. The psychological effects of abuse are often hard to detect or understand. It can be difficult to talk about what happened and difficult to deal with the emotional consequences. This is where our specialist Abuse team can help. We have over 20 years of experience dealing with civil claims for abuse. It is not only important for us to ensure that our clients receive the compensation that they deserve but also that they are listened to and feel in control of the process.
Abuse can be sexual or physical or even occur online and over social media. You may have been abused as a child or as an adult. The abuse may have happened recently or many years ago. It is never too late to speak up and report abuse and our specialist lawyers are experienced dealing with the legal issues that arise.
Abuse in Childrens Homes
There are over 100,000 looked-after children in the UK. For many years children and young people unable to live with their families have been accommodated in children's homes across the country. They may be run by the local authority or council, privately owned, run by charities or even religious organisations. They vary in size, some accommodating only a handful of children at any one time and others able to accommodate much larger numbers. Many larger children's homes often provided onsite education and recreational activities.
We have dealt with many, many cases of abuse in children's homes. Historically, they have been places where prolific offenders have been able to gain access to children. Children in these homes are often vulnerable, having little or no contact with family members. Fortunately, awareness of child sexual abuse and increased safeguarding means that today there are greater checks and procedures in place to try and ensure the safety of children, but sadly abuse does still happen.
Abuse may be sexual or physical and by care, education and even medical staff within these homes. If you or someone you know has suffered sexual or physical abuse in a children's home, however long ago it may have been, you can contact our expert abuse team for advice.
Abuse in Schools and Colleges
We entrust teachers and other educational professionals with the care of our children from a very young age right through to adulthood. We have every right to be confident that our children will be safe and that our school life and educational experiences will be positive. Unfortunately, abuse can and does happen. For many years we have seen, and we still see cases where teachers, lecturers, and other staff working with children and young people in an educational setting are taking advantage of their position and abusing children, both sexually and physically.
The law holds the school or educational establishment responsible in this situation. This applies whether the school is run by the local authority, a private company or a religious organisation. It applies to day schools and boarding schools.
If you or someone you know has suffered abuse at school, at college, at University or in any other educational setting you can contact our specialist abuse claims compensation team.
Abuse within the Church and other religious organisations
Places of worship should be safe environments for both adults and children. Unfortunately, they also provide environments where those who want to abuse can take advantage of their position and the trust that they have placed in them by the members of the congregation. We have dealt with claims for sexual and physical abuse by priests, religious leaders and others within senior positions in religious organisations.
Where an abused individual has a strong faith, that faith is often exploited with many perpetrators of abuse using their faith to manipulate the individual. It can be totally devastating where abuse occurs within a religious context. There has been widespread media coverage of the catholic church abuse scandals, but we have also dealt with claims in respect of the Church of England and other religious faiths such as Jehova’s witness and Jewish faiths.
If you or someone you know has suffered abuse by a religious leader or in a religious setting you can contact our expert Abuse team.
Abuse in Sport
While abuse in sports has been happening for many years, it has only really been brought to the public’s attention in recent years, starting with the allegations made against and the prosecutions of football coaches such as Barry Bennell and Bob Higgins. Since then, we have seen a surge of revelations of sexual and physical abuse and mistreatment in an increasing number of sports including swimming, gymnastics and athletics.
Sports coaches and other professionals are in positions of power and trust. The young sportspeople and athletes under their instruction and supervision will often hold the coach in high esteem. The sporting world tends to operate in tight-knit social circles and young sportspeople who have spoken out about abuse have described how fear of repercussions, fear of harming their careers and fear of not being believed has made reporting difficult.
Abuse in sports does not just happen in the elite and professional sporting world. Many children, young people and even adults play sports and attend clubs. Civil law applies equally to abuse in sports and a claim for compensation may be brought whether at an elite or amateur level.
If you or someone you know has suffered abuse or assault whilst a member of a sports club you can contact our expert lawyers.
Abuse of the Elderly
Elderly people can be particularly vulnerable. Sometimes our elderly relatives and friends may need help and assistance from professionals either in their own homes or in a care home. Some care homes provide permanent accommodation or respite. Many care homes are owned and managed by the local authority, but can also be run by private companies and charities.
It is particularly shocking when we hear reports of elderly people suffering sexual abuse and neglect by those that are meant to be caring for them. Often the elderly person will not be aware they are being abused or cannot speak up about the abuse due to mental or physical impairment. They are reliant on us as family and friends to be aware of the signs of abuse and to take action when we suspect a person is at risk.
We have successfully recovered compensation for many individuals who have been through such experiences and have suffered abuse in elderly care homes. We understand that the elderly person may not be able to speak to us directly or may not be able to give witness evidence. As specialist elderly abuse claim solicitors we are experts in gathering the evidence we need to support the claim and progressing the case sensitively.
If someone you know has been abused in an elderly care home or by a professional or carer who was meant to be looking after them then you can contact our expert team for advice.
Abuse in the Scouts and other Youth Groups
For many boys and girls the Scouts, Cadets and other youth groups, have provided fond memories, invaluable experiences and lifetime friends. Unfortunately, such organisations have provided those intent on abusing children with an opportunity to spend time with, groom and abuse. Boys and girls will spend time away from family often on overnight trips.
We have recovered compensation for many individuals who have suffered abuse in the Scouts and Cadets. Some of the biggest police investigations have centred around Scout leaders who often serve for many years over several decades.
If you or someone you know has suffered abuse in the Scouts, Cadets or other Youth organisations you can contact our specialist abuse team for help and advice.
Abuse in Hospitals and other medical settings
When a person is sick or in need of medical advice, it is not expected that the doctor, consultant or other medical staff would exploit their position and commit abuse, but this sadly does happen. Sexual and physical abuse claims can be brought against the hospital, the doctor's surgery or the clinic. Hospitals may be NHS owned or private and doctors usually work in partnerships.
If you are someone you know has suffered sexual or physical abuse or assault in a hospital or by a GP or other professional who was meant to be treating or caring for you then you can contact our legal team for advice.
Abuse by Celebrities and Public Figures
When a Celebrity or Public Figure is accused of or convicted of sexual abuse or assault there is usually a great deal of media attention. Everyone is aware of the scandal surrounding Jimmy Saville and we were all greatly saddened and angered as the full extent of the abuse he committed became apparent following his death. When we then learned that there were many red flags during his lifetime and that many people were aware of or suspected what he was doing, it became apparent that his celebrity status and wealth enable him to abuse children and young people.
There have been many other celebrities and high-profile figures that have also been found to or been accused of assaulting both adults and children. More people have spoken out and we are increasingly seeing victims and survivors pursuing claims for compensation, often directly against the Individual abuser who may have sufficient assets to pay any compensation awarded.
If you or someone you know has been abused by a celebrity or a high-profile individual, known locally or nationally you can contact our expert Abuse team for advice.
Abuse in Foster Care
If you have ever been in the care of the local authority as a child, you may have spent a period in Foster care. Foster care is designed to provide an alternative for children who are unable to live with their own parents and is intended to replicate the family environment as much as possible.
Prior to 2017 claims for compensation in respect of abuse by foster parents were very difficult. You would have to prove negligence on the part of the local authority or agency that authorised or arranged the foster care. This was very difficult, especially in historic cases where records may be lost or destroyed and witnesses could be hard to find. A decision of the Supreme Court in 2017 changed the law in relation to claims for foster care abuse and decided that local authorities and agencies can now be automatically responsible for the acts of their foster parents and carers. This means that many individuals who may have been advised before 2017 that they could not bring a claim for abuse in foster care may now be able to do so.
If you or someone you know has suffered sexual or physical abuse or assault in foster care or has been previously advised that they do not have a claim you can contact our expert abuse solicitors.
With the availability of technology and the increased use of social media, comes an increased risk of abuse in ways that were not necessarily possible in the past. These platforms and new technologies are being used to commit crimes, including grooming and sexual abuse.
There are now many types of recognised online abuse such as sexting, online grooming, revenge porn and cyberbullying. Children and young people are particularly vulnerable and whilst parents and carers should be reminded to keep a check on what their children are doing, those who are intent on using these platforms to abuse are difficult to detect.
The civil compensation claims process is still developing in this area and our specialist abuse team have dealt with an increasing number of claims in recent years.
If you or someone you know has suffered online abuse you can contact one of our team using the button below.
Abuse within the family
Sadly, there are a high number of instances of sexual and physical abuse and assault occurring within the family home, whether by family members or friends. Both children and adults can be vulnerable and open to abuse in the domestic environment and it is one of the places that abuse and assault often remains unreported and undetected for many years. In some circumstances, if social services or other professionals have been involved with the family, there may be a claim against the local authority or agency, but these claims are quite difficult. It can also be difficult to bring a civil claim against the Individual in these circumstances, but you may be entitled to Criminal Injuries Compensation.
If you or someone you know has suffered abuse by a family member or within your own home you can contact our specialist team for advice.
Child Sexual Exploitation
Child Sexual Exploitation or CSE is a term used to describe the situation where a child or young person is befriended and groomed and perhaps given gifts, money, drugs, love and affection in exchange for performing sexual acts. Often the young person is tricked into believing that they are loved or are in a consensual relationship. There have been a number of scandals in England and Wales involving young girls, usually girls in the care system, being exploited in this way by male gangs. CSE can also happen to males. It can also involve fear and violence and children and young people are also trafficked for this reason.
If you or someone you know has suffered Child Sexual Exploitation or human trafficking you can contact our specialist abuse compensation team.