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Leigh Day supports play highlighting the impact of childhood sexual abuse

A play which explores the effects of non-recent and peer-on-peer sexual abuse will be performed in London and Portsmouth in June 2017.

Cast members Jonathan Curry and Neville Cann. Credit: Diogo Duarte

19 May 2017

The play examines childhood sexual abuse through the lives of four survivors at various stages of adult life; a mother and her daughter and two childhood friends.

The play, titled ‘Finishing Touches’, was written by Brian Daniels and commissioned by law firm Leigh Day to try to help highlight the trauma and damage that can be caused by abuse in childhood.  

The play premiered at the Barbican Theatre in London in August 2016 and was performed in Brian’s hometown, Leeds, in January 2017. There will be two public performances at Fitzrovia Chapel, London, on 14th and 15th June and a further performance at the New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth on 16th June.

It is hoped that the play will give a greater understanding of the issues faced by adult survivors of sexual abuse to the wider public, particularly to those who work with and support survivors such as social workers and those who work for support charities.

There is greater public awareness of sexual abuse now than ever before, with many stories of child abuse in the media. However, awareness of the ongoing difficulties for abuse survivors has not caught up, with non-recent childhood abuse often being described as ‘historic’ in media reports when, for survivors struggling to deal with the legacy of abuse, it is anything but in the past.  

It is the experience of many of Leigh day’s clients that access to specialist support is often not available to them in their local area under the NHS.  The work of organisations such as National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC) is invaluable in offering a first line of support to adult survivors, who may not have been able to disclose their experience of childhood abuse previously. Any proceeds from the performances of the play will be donated to NAPAC to assist them in this work.

Alison Millar, abuse solicitor at Leigh Day, said:

“At Leigh Day, we have been representing survivors of non-recent abuse for 25 years.

“We know, from listening to the experiences of our clients, that abuse in childhood can have an impact and legacy lasting long after the sexual or physical assault: the abuse and accompanying breach of trust by an adult can be truly devastating to developing a healthy self-esteem and secure relationships in adulthood.  

“Many of our clients, even those who have been apparently able to function in the workplace and have their own families, describe enduring symptoms related to the trauma.  They may suffer from crises of mental ill-health and be less well equipped to cope with stressful life events.  

“We hope that this play will go some way towards highlighting the urgent need for specialist therapeutic services to be developed to support survivors longer-term, helping those affected move beyond survival to heal and to thrive.”  


Details of performances:
  • Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th June 7pm at Fitzrovia Chapel, 2 Pearson Square, London W1T 3BF. 
  • Friday 16th June 7.30pm at New Theatre Royal, 20-24 Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth PO1 2DD. 

The performances are free but donations will be taken on the night, all proceeds will go to NAPAC. For tickets contact Brian Daniels at brdan@icloud.com 

Photo: Cast members Jonathan Curry and Neville Cann during a performance of the play at the Barbican. Credit: Diogo Duarte

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