Abuse and Sexual Assault

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1 Abuse and Sexual Assault INJURY & NEGLIGENCE SPECIALISTS

2 Injury & Negligence

3 WELCOME TO PANNONE PART OF SLATER & GORDON We have years of experience dealing with cases of abuse and sexual assault and know how difficult it can be to talk to a solicitor about what you have been through. We will do everything we possibly can to make you feel as comfortable as possible. I cannot begin to express my appreciation for what you have done over the last few years. Although I originally contacted yourselves in support of others who I felt had a far more legitimate complaint, your response has helped me to come to a far better understanding of my experience at St George s and its impact on my life. Consequently, your response and the guidance of counsellors has helped my healing process. You have had a massive impact, not only on my life, but on that of my family as well, and for that, I will be eternally grateful. I would like to wish you and your colleagues all the best for the future. Anonymous, Suffolk 3

4 Injury & Negligence MEET THE TEAM Talking about cases of abuse, whether it happened recently or many years ago, is never an easy thing to do for anyone who has experienced it. We recognise that discussing these personal, emotional and often quite distressing issues with a solicitor can be difficult at first. However, we have also seen how liberating it can be when justice is achieved. Our solicitors have specialist expertise in dealing with cases of abuse and are committed to securing the right result for you. RICHARD SCORER Richard, National Manager of Serious Injury, heads the team. Richard has been described by the Independent on Sunday as one of Britain s leading specialists in the field of abuse law. He acted for victims in the North Wales Child Abuse Inquiry and has represented clients in many cases against the Catholic Church and other organisations. He has achieved many landmark settlements for clients. Most recently, Richard has been acting for young women involved in the sexual exploitation scandal in Rochdale. Richard was one of the founders of ACAL (Association of Child Abuse Lawyers) and has also written extensively on the subject. The Chambers Independent Legal Guide ranks Richard as a Leader in the Field of personal injury and states that Clients find Richard to be totally supportive. Clients find Richard to be totally supportive Quote from Chambers (Independent Legal Guide)

5 ALAN COLLINS Alan is a Principal Lawyer in the Serious Injury Department. He is a specialist in serious personal injury and child abuse cases and has acted for many victims (both nationally and internationally) in complex cases against abusers, schools, authorities, and religious institutions. Alan is a solicitor-advocate which has enabled him to appear in court on the behalf of clients. He regularly appears in the media to comment on and explain child abuse cases and issues. Alan has worked on many high profile cases including Green Field House, Portsmouth Cottage Homes and Cyntwell High School for Boys. Most recently, Alan has been involved in cases involving Jimmy Savile and the BBC, Stuart Hall and also the Haut de la Garenne - Jersey care homes. MOLLY WHITTALL Molly has been a personal injury solicitor for the past 10 years and specialises in serious injury and abuse cases, including claims for both physical and sexual abuse of children and adults. She has acted for clients in claims against local authorities and private companies, as well as claims brought directly against the abuser. Molly has worked on various high profile cases such as the Tennal Assessment Centre Group Litigation, The North Wales Children s Home Cases and claims against the Catholic Church. 5

6 Injury & Negligence ABUSE CLAIMS Abuse can happen at any stage of life and can present itself in many forms, the main ones being: Physical abuse - hitting, kicking, punching and biting Emotional abuse - calling horrible or racist names, swearing, bullying and threatening violence Sexual abuse - a person making sexual advances (touching or kissing you in a sexual way) without your consent Whether you have been abused physically, emotionally or sexually, as a child or an adult, it is important that legal advice is sought as early as possible. There are various situations where compensation may be claimed. Common abuse claims include: Historic abuse suffered as a child in local authority/foster care Abuse suffered within the family Abuse by a person in a position of trust such as a teacher or priest Abuse of the elderly in a nursing or care home Sexual and physical abuse suffered as an adult A single incident of sexual/physical assault

7 WHAT IS INVOLVED WHEN MAKING A CLAIM? Claims for abuse are complex. At the outset we will explain the legal process and aim to give you a realistic picture of what you may achieve, and the most likely outcome. Your solicitor will investigate your claim and obtain any records which may be relevant, such as medical records, social care records and police statements. Medical evidence is also needed to confirm the nature and extent of your injuries, whether those injuries are physical or psychological. We will therefore arrange for an appropriately qualified medical expert who is experienced in this area. Understandably, many clients are concerned about having to attend court. The vast majority of civil claims for compensation do successfully conclude before the case reaches the final court hearing. Even if a case reaches a final hearing it is unlikely that the abuser would be present at the hearing. 7

8 Injury & Negligence FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS If my abuser is found not guilty, can I still make a claim for compensation? Yes. It is still possible because there are often many reasons why an alleged abuser has not been convicted. The evidential burden in a civil case is lower and the issues are often different to those in a criminal case. You should always take legal advice about whether or not you are able to bring a claim regardless of what might of happened in the criminal case. Do I have to attend my solicitor s office to get advice, because I m scared to do so? No. We can meet you wherever you feel most comfortable and safe. We will discuss this with you when you get in touch. Richard is one of Britain s leading specialists in child abuse litigation. Independent on Sunday

9 Do I have to pay for advice and representation when making a claim? Those who are on a low income may qualify for public funding (this used to be known as Legal Aid). For those who are not, we can look at representing them on a no win no fee basis. This means there is no need to be worried about having to find money to pay for legal advice and representation. We will discuss this with you when we meet and will advise you as to the best way of proceeding that suits you. Will I have to go to court? Most cases do not go to court because an agreement is reached between the parties before attendance at court is necessary. However, we cannot guarantee that your case will not have to go to court. There are occasions when an agreement cannot be reached and in that situation, your case would have to go to court for a Judge to decide whether you should receive compensation. However, this is rare. 9

10 Injury & Negligence WHAT COMPENSATION IS AWARDED? In abuse cases, compensation can be awarded for the following: The abuse or assault itself The psychological/psychiatric damage caused by the abuse/assault The cost of therapy/treatment Loss of earnings GROUP LITIGATION In cases that involve institutions, such as local authority care homes, there may be a number of individuals making similar complaints. Often this situation will arise where there has been a large scale police investigation. Where a number of such claims are brought at the same time the court will often order that the claims be dealt with by way of group litigation. This is because there will be a number of common issues between the individual cases.

11 CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS It is important to understand that the criminal proceedings are completely separate to the claim for compensation although the outcome of criminal proceedings is relevant to your case. Anyone who comes to us for advice regarding abuse or assault will be encouraged to report the matter to the police if they have not done so already. All police forces throughout England and Wales have specialist units to deal with such complaints and we are able to assist you in establishing contact with the relevant police force. CRIMINAL INJURIES COMPENSATION Where an individual has suffered abuse or an assault they may be entitled to compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). This is a government funded scheme. The amount of compensation is determined according to a tariff scheme and is assessed according to the nature and frequency of the assault or abuse and also the severity and duration of any psychological/ psychiatric damage caused. The large team has the breadth of experience to easily handle any claims including those of the highest complexity Quote from Chambers (Independent Legal Guide) 11

12 Injury & Negligence CASE STUDY X was sexually abused by his headmaster at boarding school. He kept what happened a secret, not even telling his wife. He struggled with containing his memories of what happened, and found refuge in alcohol. Matters came to a head when the headmaster was arrested and successfully prosecuted for abusing children. There was much publicity which triggered very painful memories for him, and he sought help from Pannone part of Slater & Gordon. They were able to advise and successfully represent X in obtaining compensation for him and by arranging therapy which has enabled him to cope with his memories. He is now much happier in his work and has been able to confide in his family, who are now better able to support him.

13 13

14 Injury & Negligence WHAT WILL IT COST? Do not be concerned about the cost. Depending on the type of case, we can offer the following types of funding: Public Funding (Legal Aid) Conditional Fee Agreements ( no win, no fee ) Contingency fees (usually used for criminal injuries claims) Private funding Your solicitor will advise you which funding option would be best for you. TIME LIMITS It is important to act quickly if you wish to bring a claim. Even if the abuse happened many years ago, a claim may still be possible. We will advise you about the effects of the Limitation Act on abuse cases. However, once you realise that you may have a claim, you should instruct a solicitor without delay.

15 CONTACT US Highest quality advice (ranked in top tier by leading independent legal guides Chambers and Legal 500) Free no obligation consultation Experienced specialist solicitors and principal lawyers who are Leaders in their field Range of funding options including no win, no fee National UK coverage and home visits Call us for a free consultation with one of our team of specialist solicitors who will discuss your case with you and let you know how we can help. Freephone Pannone part of Slater & Gordon have offices nationwide. To find your local office visit For further information, please go to

16 For more information, please contact Alan Collins on or Slater & Gordon (UK) LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

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