If you’ve been abused in an institution outside the family home, such as a school, a care home, an orphanage, a church or other religious property, you may have a claim for compensation.
When you contact us for free legal advice, ask about Legal Aid or if we can deal with your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis.
Our specialist team of Abuse Claims Solicitors is headed up by Solicitor Peter Garsden, who is President of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL).
We can provide confidential legal advice on the merits and possible pitfalls in bringing a claim.
If you are ready to talk about your experiences, or those of a relative, call us and ask to speak to an Abuse Claims Solicitor. Together, we’ll identify if you have a case and we can answer any questions you may have about the process.
We have helped many other victims of institutional abuse and we can help you too.
Abuse often takes place somewhere away from the child’s home.
An institution is somewhere outside of the family home which is usually managed and controlled by a stranger to the family, or an organisation.
Examples of institutions where abuse has been known to take place include:
- Care Homes
- Churches and other Religious Establishments
- Sports Buildings
- Swimming Pools
- Holiday Buildings
- Club/Leisure Premises – i.e. Scout Huts, School Halls
In many abuse cases, it’s common for the abuser to be employed by the organisation. If so, the organisation will, in most circumstances, be liable for any abuse carried out. Even where the abuser is a volunteer, priest, or other person where the relationship is not so obviously employer/employee, the organisation will usually be liable for any abuse suffered.
Frequently asked questions
- Do I Need a Solicitor?
The law surrounding abuse compensation claims is extremely complex, so it’s vital you speak to a Solicitor that specialises in abuse claims.
Even before a claim goes to Court, there are many potential pitfalls and hurdles to overcome, and special procedures to follow. A Solicitor with expertise in abuse claims is ideally placed to help you navigate this legal minefield and get the best outcome for you.
Simpson Millar is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL) and we subscribe to its code of conduct. That means we’ll deal with your case in the way you’d expect it to be handled, with sensitivity and skill.
- What's Involved in Claiming Compensation?
The first step is to determine exactly who to make the claim for compensation against. This could be anyone from a residential care institution, or the body that runs it, to an individual who has committed abuse in the family home.
We’ll then determine how the claim is to be funded, many claims can be dealt with on a No Win, No Fee basis, we can then start to obtain as much evidence as possible to help prove the claim and assess its value.
If it’s then appropriate to begin Court proceedings, a formal legal claim begins in Court. In most abuse cases, there’s no need to go to a final trial and many compensation claims can be settled out of Court.
If it does proceed to trial, the person bringing the case may have to give evidence as a witness, but if this does happen, your Solicitor and a Barrister will provide advice and support at every stage.
- How Much Compensation Will I Get?
The exact amount of compensation depends on many factors such as how much has the abuse affected your life? How much money have you lost or likely to lose as a consequence of the abuse? Will you need extra support in the future?
That’s why in most cases we ask a medical expert to prepare a report detailing the harm inflicted, so we can value your claim and give you a good idea of how much compensation you can expect to receive.
Rest assured, we’ll do all we can to get you the maximum amount of compensation available to you.
- Why Claim Compensation?
Bringing legal action can’t wipe away the suffering you or a loved one has experienced, but there are lots of other reasons why it’s worth claiming compensation:
- For many, it’s the only recognition that what happened to them was wrong
- Legal action helps survivors accept that what happened to them wasn’t their fault
- Solicitors can aid the survivor’s recovery process, as the first people to hear and validate their experiences
- Compensation can help survivors get appropriate treatment, such as counselling, and rebuild their lives
- Public bodies have an incentive to follow correct procedures and act responsibly
- Speaking out on abuse can encourage Parliament to change the law
- Bringing legal action can ensure other people don’t have to suffer in the same way as you
- Compensation can recover money you would have received if not for the abuse
- How Will I Pay?
There are generally four options for paying for legal costs:
- Public Funding (Legal Aid)
- No Win, No Fee arrangements
- Legal Expenses Insurance
- Private Funding
Solicitors make charges based on an hourly rate. The overall cost of your case will depend on how much work is required, and a complex case will cost more than a straightforward case.
Most child abuse cases are complex, as they can involve investigations of records and events dating back many years. This can make child abuse cases very expensive to bring to Court.
Abuse cases will also usually include fees from experts including Psychiatrists, Doctors, Barristers and sometimes other specialists.
The legal system requires the losing party in an abuse case to pay the winning party’s legal costs.
Public Funding (Legal Aid) is currently available for child abuse claims where the person bringing the claim is financially eligible and where the case has legal merit.
If a person doesn’t qualify for Legal Aid, the Solicitor will consider whether it’s appropriate to enter into a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) or what is often called a No Win, No Fee agreement. It’s essential that you fully understand the terms of the agreement before committing to it, so you know exactly what expenses you could have to pay.
When entering into a No Win, No Fee agreement, it may also be a good idea to take out an After the Event insurance policy in case you end up having to pay the opponent’s costs.
Finally, you have the option of paying the Solicitor privately as the case proceeds.
For free legal advice call our Abuse Claims Solicitors
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Southport.