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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

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Special school apologises for use of mechanical restraint against severely autistic twin boys

Parents of twin brothers with severe autism have achieved a landmark success with a successful claim under the Human Rights Act for the use of mechanical restraint chairs against their sons.

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Retired special constable sexually abused homeless teenage boy

A retired police special constable who allegedly sexually exploited a former homeless teenager to men agreed to pay compensation before the case went to trial.

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Compensation secured for sexual assault victim of Dr Manish Shah

A woman who was repeatedly sexually assaulted by her GP, Dr Manish Shah, under the guise of legitimate medical examinations, has secured compensation from his former medical practice.

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Islington Survivors Network Islington Borough Council Abuse claims Historical abuse

Settlements above £10,000 flat payment for Islington Survivors Network members

Two further compensation claims on behalf of members of Islington Survivors Network have been settled by the abuse claims team at Leigh Day. 

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

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Abuse claims lawyer welcomes investigation into allegations of historic abuse in Rhyl Sea Cadets

Abuse claims lawyer Andrew Lord, who represents a client who suffered abuse while in the Sea Cadets, has welcomed a police investigation into allegations of sexual abuse connected to the Rhyl detachment of Sea Cadets.

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Any investigation into Crawley Town FC racist abuse allegations should look at John Yems’ career

Allegations of racist abuse involving Crawley Town FC manager John Yems should look at the coach’s work at other football clubs, says specialist abuse lawyer, Dino Nocivelli.

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Kyniska Advocacy’s five-point plan to halt sexual violence in sport

A women in sport campaign group has published an action plan to halt sexual violence in sport.

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IICSA’s latest report – residential schools in Wales

Solicitor specialising in representing survivors of abuse, Dino Nocivelli, discusses the latest report from IICSA and its conclusion in relation to gaps in safeguarding for Welsh schools.