Abuse Survivors Blog

Why are reports of childhood sexual abuse in football rising?

Written by Tim Emmott on 21 Jul 2017

Instances of abuse in sport have hit the headlines in recent years, most notably in football, where allegations of childhood sexual abuse have become rife. Over 300 clubs in the country have been directly affected by the scandal. It has been claimed by those involved that we could be facing a crisis on the scale of the Jimmy Savile scandal – described as a ‘tidal wave’ by Greg Clarke, chairman of the Football Association.

Some convictions have already been secured – this firm acts for one of the victims of Johnathan Bedford, for example, a former youth football coach and referee of a local youth football club in Lincoln, who got over 11 years in November last year. 

Other prosecutions are well under way. The latest instance to hit the news is that of Bob Higgins, former youth coach and scout with Southampton in the 1980s (who went on to other clubs including Peterborough). Higgins has been charged with 65 counts of indecent assault against 23 boys

The media has brought to light the prevalence of, and opportunity for, such abuse within football and is forcing clubs to address potential safeguarding shortcomings in terms of protecting the safety of their young players.


Institutional abuse in the military cadets

Written by Tracey Emmott on 11 Jul 2017

Sexual offences committed in the context of the military have reached public awareness before: we remember the death of four trainees at Deepcut barracks, and the case of military police trainee, Anne-Marie Ellement, who was found hanged in 2011 after claiming she had been raped by two army colleagues in 2009.

My experience of representing such victims in civil compensation claims against the Ministry of Defence is that they suffer unspeakable shame and often lifelong damage.

When considering an amendment to the Armed Forces Act 2006 last year, Liberal Democrat peer, Baroness Jolly, expressed the belief that men and women who serve in the armed forces deserve the same level of protection as civilians. She said, "sexual assault is a gross violation which can have serious, long lasting consequences on victims, and unfortunately the military has failed to acknowledge the seriousness of this crime until now".


Examples of institutional abuse and how to speak out about it

Written by Tracey Emmott on 27 Jun 2017

For many the term ‘institutional abuse’ can conjure up images of huge Dickensian establishments, like Haut de la Garenne in Jersey, where unspeakable crimes were carried out on orphan children by the very people who were entrusted with their care.  

But institutional abuse can also be much ‘closer to home,’ in that it is simply the mistreatment of children or vulnerable adults by any system of power.

In this blog post we explore common causes and examples of institutional abuse and offer advice on first steps for survivors seeking justice and compensation

Why institutional abuse occurs


Safeguarding vulnerable adults: abuse of the elderly

Written by Jacqui Morton

Everyone in our society deserves to be treated with kindness and dignity. So it is especially shocking to discover that some of the most vulnerable adults in our community are at risk of abuse by the very people who are charged with their care.

In February 2017 the Telegraph reported that, over the last three years alone, there had been more than 23,000 allegations of abuse by care home workers against vulnerable adults. Yet of these allegations, just 700 resulted in police action and only 15 ended in prosecutions.

The vast majority of the allegations related to care of elderly people in their homes. And more than 9,700 cases involving victims over the age of 80.


Child abuse survivor wins out-of-court settlement

Written by Tracey Emmott on 13 Apr 2017

A survivor of sexual abuse by one of Britain’s most notorious paedophile shines light on stories of high level conspiracy allegedly involving senior political and establishment figures.
Stephen Briggs, now living in Scotland, has won a legal action against the school where abuse first took place, and he has been awarded a five figure sum in damages.
Mr Briggs, now 51, was 12 in 1977 when he was first assaulted, whilst a pupil at the Cavendish School in Ealing, London.


42 counts of abuse proven against former Bedfordshire children’s home worker at Old Bailey today

Written by Tracey Emmott on 10 Oct 2016

Press Release: A former Bedfordshire children’s home worker was today proven to have committed sexual and physical assaults on boys in his care following a 6 week trial at the Old Bailey.
James McCann was found to have committed 42 out of the 50 charges against him, including causing bodily harm, indecent assaults, and indecency with children.
McCann pleaded not guilty to all charges, but on the second day of his trial last month he was taken ill.


Our client gives £30,000 damages award to orphanage

Written by Tracey Emmott on 21 Sep 2016

One of six high profile former victims of a disgraced paedophile has donated his £30,000 damages award to an orphanage in the slums of Nairobi, in Kenya.
The six men were all abused as children by David Lowe, a former house master at two prestigious catholic schools, Westminster Cathedral Choir School in London and Ampleforth in Yorkshire.
In February 2015, Lowe was convicted at Southwark Crown Court of abusing 10 former pupils between 1978 and 1984, and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.


St. Francis Boys' Home Criminal Trial of the Facts of Former Houseparent

Written by Tracey Emmott on 16 Sep 2016

James McCann, a former houseparent at the Catholic children's home in Shefford, Bedforshire, faces 34 counts of ABH, 15 counts of indecency with a male person, and four counts of indecency with a child. Last week McCann suffered a stroke in court resulting in the judge ordering a Trial of the Facts.


St. Francis Boys' Home Criminal Trial - Scout Master Convicted

Written by Tracey Emmott on 16 Sep 2016

St. Francis Boys' Home Criminal Trial - Scout Master Convicted Two key carers at a Catholic children's home have been charged with offences against children during the 1960s and 1970s. One of them, a scout master, Christopher Cahill, ran a scout troop specifically for boys at the home between 1965 and 1966.


Stowmarket child abuse claim settled out of court

Written by Tracey Emmott on 29 Feb 2016

A girl from the Stowmarket area who was sexually abused by her grandfather has been awarded a six figure sum in compensation for her psychological injuries.

Miss B was seven when the assaults took place in August 2002. Her grandfather was found guilty of indecent assault at a criminal trial at Ipswich Crown Court in August 2008.

He was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment and his name was recorded on the sexual offenders register.

Miss B attended a child psychiatrist, Dr Robin Benians. His view was that she suffered a major depressive disorder and post traumatic stress disorder. She also showed symptoms of aversion. All those problems were attributable to her grandfather's conduct towards her.