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abuse and social care

Nearly all organisations that engage with children in a social care, residential, faith, charitable, sporting, leisure or educational context have seen an unprecedented rise in the number of claims for historical abuse. Dealing effectively and efficiently with those claims - be they individual instructions or large group actions - and managing their reputational impact, is a key strategic imperative for these organisations.

Our social care team assists insurers, local authorities, faith groups, charities, sports groups, youth groups, schools, independent providers and health providers to manage their historical abuse claims as well as failure to remove, Deprivation of Liberty, child sexual exploitation and human rights claims. We give pragmatic, inclusive, sensitive and practical advice, grounded in our expert knowledge of the sector, which is why we are chosen and trusted by the principal insurers and their insureds that face such claims.

Our practice spans the whole range of social care issues from subject access requests to serious case reviews, from safeguarding policies to public and private inquiries. We frequently advise as to how to manage concerns and complaints. Our national, specialist team, works with our specialist health and education advisory teams to provide truly joined up expertise.

what we do...

  • The defence, and where appropriate settlement, of historical abuse claims – guiding you through the concepts of negligence in a social care setting, vicarious liability, causation and quantum. Dealing with both straightforward, individual claims and large, high profile group actions. Advising you on your strategy for stale claims (limitation issues).
  • Advising and conducting recovery actions against abusers - either in standalone proceedings or alongside a claim for damages for abuse.
  • Assisting you where you have been drawn into police investigations - advising regarding the involvement of staff and the disclosure of documents, liaising generally with the police and prosecuting authorities.
  • The defence, and where appropriate settlement, of failure to remove claims - utilising our specialist expertise to advise you of the areas of weakness in practice, in advance of expert evidence, and the consequential losses.
  • Advising you with regard to Deprivation of Liberty issues and their regularisation - whether by the Court of Protection or others, dealing with claims arising therefrom.
  • Advising and assisting with regard to Human Rights claims - whether in the Family Court or as an independent civil claim.
  • Advising with regard to the inadvertent release of sensitive personal data and resulting claims.
  • Advising with regard to private and public inquiries - including issues of privilege, disclosure of documents and reputational issues.
  • Drafting and stress testing safeguarding policies and procedures.
  • Advising with regard to child sexual exploitation claims.

related resources

Legal updates

Pope admits that priests sexually abused nuns

Internationally, a number of investigations and inquiries have unearthed historical sexual abuse by priests. Previously, the focus had been on allegations of abuse against children.


Legal updates

Abuse and social care newsletter - December 2018

Welcome to our quarterly social care newsletter.


Sarah Erwin-Jones introduces our newest social care partner Cynthia Watts

In this short video, we introduce Cythia Watts, who specialises in public sector defence work; interviewed by Sarah Erwin-Jones.


Legal updates

Institutional child sexual abuse redress schemes – the Australian model six months in

2018 has seen much discussion of the possibility of setting up redress schemes in the UK to address historical child sexual abuse. Most of that abuse is said to have occurred in institutions.


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