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Abuse and exploitation claims

Acting on behalf of those who have suffered abuse

If you suffered abuse as a child or adult, it may feel like you’re cut off from the world. But you are not alone. At Leigh Day, we fight for you.

We understand what abuse does to you or anyone you know who experiences it, and that speaking up can bring on a wave of emotions. That’s why we handle each case with confidentiality and sensitivity. Whether you need advice or someone to fight your corner, we’re here to listen and support you in any way we can.

Our specialist legal team is rated as one of the best in the UK, with a track record of success over three decades. We’ve supported clients who have suffered sexual, physical and emotional abuse, resulting in psychiatric damage and physical injury. This includes survivors of child abuse and vulnerable adults, such as older people or those living with disabilities.

We also support anyone coming forward years after abuse took place, and those claiming on behalf of someone else – such as a parent for their child. Get in touch with our specialist UK team of abuse lawyers and see how we can help you get justice.

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Types of abuse claims

Experiencing physical, emotional or sexual abuse can be incredibly traumatic. No matter your age or situation, you shouldn’t have to suffer in silence.

Abuse can take on many forms and happen in various settings, including professional and care environments. Every type of abuse is damaging in its own way, but sadly some types of abuse can happen more often in similar circumstances than others.

Some areas where abuse may take place and involve breaches of trust can include:

  • Hospitals and healthcare, where a medical professional may be an abuser.
  • Sports, including children’s clubs and international events.
  • Schools, including boarding schools, where survivors past and present can bring claims, including for safeguarding and restraint failures.
  • Care homes, where children or vulnerable adults may have suffered abuse by staff.
  • Children’s homes and foster care, where social services may be involved.
  • Churches or religious settings, from leaders or people in a position of authority.

No matter what type of abuse you faced, we are here for you. Even if your situation isn’t listed above, our abuse claims solicitors can help you seek justice and secure compensation for any trauma, injuries and other impacts on your livelihood because of their actions.

Who can make an abuse claim?

Anyone who has suffered from physical, sexual or emotional abuse – whether it happened decades ago, recently, in the UK or abroad – may be able to bring a claim.

We also work with parents claiming on behalf of their child or those acting on behalf of someone who is no longer here or unable to represent themselves. This could be if they have learning difficulties or cannot face making a claim themselves due to the emotional trauma the abuse caused.

Contact our specialist team and they can assess your case, advising on whether you may be able to bring an abuse claim to try and secure compensation and closure for yourself or a loved one.

Watch our 2 minute video

Take a first step with an abuse compensation claim

Taking that first step towards seeking justice is often the hardest thing to do. But it can also be the most rewarding.

Civil law may find you deserving of compensation for the trauma you’ve faced. How much you are entitled to will depend on your individual case, but it can help you rebuild your life – enabling access to education, training and therapy.

The act of deciding to bring a claim for the abuse you suffered may also help you in taking back power. By making an abuse claim, you can hold your abuser and those who facilitated the abuse to account and hopefully get answers or an apology for the pain you’ve suffered.

Going to court can be a daunting prospect. That’s why we do everything in our power to seek a settlement without going to court. Your claim might also be done with confidentiality and anonymity to protect your name and livelihood.

We handle each case with compassion and care, regardless of how long ago it happened or the nature of your abuse. Time limits do sometimes apply to abuse claims, but you may be able to claim compensation even if the abuse happened decades ago.

See how we helped others

News Article
Prep School Pupil

Former Royal Alexandra and Albert School pupil receives six-figure sexual abuse settlement

A former pupil at a state run boarding school in Surrey has received £540,500 in damages and a formal apology from the school, for the serious and prolonged sexual abuse he suffered as a child.

News Article
Blurred Child (1)
Child protection Abuse claims Child abuse

​Case settled for child who was physically restrained at private special school

The abuse team at Leigh Day have recently reached an out-of-court settlement on behalf of a 16-year-old boy with Autism and Down's Syndrome whose family allege was subjected to excessive and unreasonable physical restraint at a private residential school for children with learning disabilities.

News Article
Blurred Child (1)
child abuse Child protection sexual abuse

High Court approves settlement for six-year-old girl sexually abused by her classmates

A girl, known as Bella to protect her identity, has succeeded in her legal case against a local authority for alleged failures relating to sexual assaults she suffered by other pupils on the grounds of her primary school.

News Article
Abuse claims

Survivor of abuse at Swaylands School settles legal claim

A former resident of Swaylands School in Kent has settled his claim for compensation following allegations of abuse during his childhood at the school.

Why Leigh Day?

At Leigh Day, we understand that abuse in any form can have a lifechanging effect on the survivor. That’s why we take the time to get to know you and your story, and never make assumptions about your experiences.

We have helped our clients achieve closure and secure compensation across all sectors in many different situations. Whenever you’re ready to make that first step, we’ll be by your side, acting with compassion and confidentiality.

What the directories say

They work with some extremely vulnerable clients and are always able to build very trusting relationships with the clients and ensure that the litigation process is made as manageable and intelligible as possible for those clients’

Legal 500 2022

Group cases

We’ve successfully brought cases on behalf of survivors who were abused in the same setting or in similar circumstances, such as in Islington children’s homes or our claims arising from Operation Hay. We also represent survivors in applications to Redress Schemes such as the Lambeth Children’s Homes Redress Scheme and the Northern Ireland Historical Abuse Redress Board.

Child Abuse Inquiry Work

Our abuse lawyers have given evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) , and we have represented Core Participants to the Inquiry, such as former child migrants and survivors of abuse in local authority care. We took legal action to help ensure that the UK government followed IICSA’s recommendation to establish a redress scheme for former child migrants.

Across four decades

Our specialist abuse lawyers are rated as one of the best in the UK, with a track record of success over four decades.

Abuse claims – FAQs

Yes, you should generally bring legal action within three years of the abuse occurring, or three years from a child’s 18th birthday. This time limit doesn’t apply if you are a vulnerable adult who lacks capacity.

For abuse that involves a breach of your human rights, you should take legal action within one year.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to seek legal advice as soon as you feel comfortable. However, don’t panic if you’re not ready to yet. As abuse is such a sensitive matter, there are often exceptions to the time limits – as seen with all the successful non-recent abuse claims.

Yes, in most cases it’s possible to claim compensation for abuse that happened several years or decades ago. This is usually when you suffered abuse as a child but have only recently come to terms with your experiences and are ready to talk.

The exact rule depends on your individual case, so it’s a good idea to seek advice from specialist abuse claims solicitors first.

It’s normal to feel anxious or frightened about speaking about your abuse in court. That’s why we always try to secure a settlement outside of court.

In some instances, a court proceeding may be necessary. But you can ask to stay anonymous and you or your abuser may not need to be present for the hearing.

News about other abuse claims

News Article
Sexual Harassment In The Workplace
Sexual harassment Personal injury

Successful personal injury claim brought for sexual harassment in the workplace

A healthcare professional has settled a claim against her hospital trust employer following sexual harassment and assaults she experienced from a co-worker.

News Article
Doctor Walking Down Corridor
Human rights sexual assault Compensation

Compensation secured for female patient following sexual assault at Essex mental health hospital

A settlement has been secured for a woman who reported she was sexually assaulted by a health care assistant working for the Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust in 2018.

News Article
abuse Abuse claims

Army cadet leaders jailed for abuse of teenage girl

Army cadet leaders have been jailed for the sexual abuse of a teenage girl in their troop.

News Article
Hopsital Porter
Abuse claims child abuse

Children’s hospital porter jailed for sex abuse crimes

A former porter at Great Ormond Street Hospital has been jailed for at least 18 years after he admitted sexual offences against young boys.