Claiming compensation for child abuse and social services failings

Our client had been placed into care by a London-based local authority around 1989, when she was 4 years old. Her mother was suffering from serious long-term mental health issues and her natural father was a violent alcoholic.

She was placed in a Children’s Home, but social services continued to permit unsupervised contact with her parents. In May 1991 it was found that she had been sexually abused during a visit to her natural father’s home.

At the age of 8, she then suffered physical abuse at the hands of a Residential Social Worker at the Children’s home and her mother’s behaviour during unsupervised visits caused her psychological problems. Despite a psychiatrist recommending no further unsupervised contact with the natural mother, restrictions were never put in place. 

During her time in the local authority’s care, from 1989 to 2005, our client attended two primary schools, four different Junior/Secondary Schools, three moves between Children’s Homes, one temporary foster carer and then eleven or so moves between foster carers and Children’s Homes.

Adoption was never arranged and because of the disruption she never had the chance to take her GCSE exams and was excluded from education for more than a year because the local authority failed to act on or fund Special Educational Needs teaching.

Because of social services failings and the abuse, our client had on-going psychological problems including depression, anxiety, trust issues, multiple failed relationships, relationship issues with her own child, a constantly unsettled adult life with multiple home and numerous low paid jobs.

From detailed analysis of social services records we discovered that the family was well-known to social services from January 1978 and sufficient concern was recorded at various times to merit the children being taken into care earlier than 1989.

The evidence also showed that the local authority had failed to undertake a proper assessment of parenting in relation to both natural parents.

We successfully argued four areas of failure/breaches of duty by social services, including failure to take into care before March 1989 to remove the client from the abusive home environment, failure to ensure the client was safe and protected from harm whilst resident at the Children’s Home, failure to protect the client from ongoing abuse by natural parents after being placed in care, and excessive movement between placements due to local authority failure to deal with adoption.

Records also showed that these failings occurred due to a shortage of social workers and lack of resources. Faced with these arguments in open correspondence and knowing that we would proceed with a formal social services expert report from a leading claims expert, the Defendant conceded liability and we reached a substantial settlement for our client.


Charles has considerable specialist experience in pursuing claims for compensation for those who have been abused in childhood. His specific expertise means that he is recognised locally, nationally and internationally for his work which has taken him all over the world including, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

He is also recognised for his significant involvement in the high profile litigation against St Georges School (Anglemoss Limited) and Cyntwell High School. These cases involved a staggering number of individuals who pursued those responsible whom despite heavily defending the claims brought against them settled by way of out of court settlements.

Charles regularly features in local and national press and he is often asked to provide his professional opinion and commentary on relevant abuse law issues and developments on radio and television broadcasts. Such broadcasts include BBC South Today, BBC Wales, ITV and ITN News.

You can follow Charles on Twitter and Facebook.

Charles obtained his Law degree at Kingston University, before successfully completing his Legal Practice Course. He trained and qualified with Verisona Law beginning his specialism in the field of child abuse claims. He received his higher rights of Audience in 2012 making him one of the youngest Solicitor-Advocates in the country who is able to represent his clients in the High Court. Charles is head of the abuse team who collectively have secured compensation for hundreds of victims of abuse.

He began diversifying in to other aspects of abuse law and his team are one of the very few in the country who specialise in claims against social services.

He is involved in complex group action litigation and also represents a number of individuals and who are pursuing private companies, local authorities and perpetrators in pursuit of their justice.

Charles has strong contacts with some of the most prominent barristers who advise on abuse claims including a number of QC’s. He also has robust connections with highly qualified expert witnesses he instructs in support of those who he represents.

  • Child abuse claims
  • Claims against social services
  • Complex/Catastrophic Clinical Negligence claims

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