What is it?
The Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL) was set up in 1999 by leading solicitors in the field of civil compensation claims, for the physical, sexual, or emotional abuse of children and adults.
The Association consists of solicitors, barristers, legal executives, trainee solicitors, barrister pupils, experts, and paralegals.
What is its purpose?
ACAL’s objective is to benefit lawyers, experts, and other professionals involved in this niche area of law and practice, with the ultimate aim of best representing of their clients in civil compensation claims. The Association is also committed to the improvement of standards, seeking to enable members to help clients make cases as strong as possible. ACAL does this by providing information, training and opportunities for discussion and knowledge sharing.
How can it help survivors?
The ACAL website can be helpful for individuals who are looking to make a claim. There are some helpful tools that can make the start of an individual’s civil compensation claim, and/or Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority application journey easier.
Finding a lawyer
The ACAL website is a good starting point for finding the right lawyer for you. The ‘Find a Lawyer’ page enables survivors to put in their location to find a lawyer close to them. It also shows what panel members are near you, what firm they work for, and their address. Nonetheless, most firms, like us at Emmott Snell, have clients from across the country and the globe, so it is important for survivors to know that distance is not an issue.
If a survivor wants a solicitor local to them and has found one, they can also view the lawyer’s profile, which provides contact details and a summary of their work.
Guidance for survivors on choosing a lawyer
There is also guidance on what a survivor can do before they see a solicitor, for example: what to expect, how to prepare, and what to remember. It also provides some expectations of what a solicitor can and cannot do for you, so the survivor does not have unrealistic expectations.
ACAL is deeply committed to making the relationship between the survivor and the lawyer as comfortable as possible, so the above page of guidance is worth reading to make the survivor feel more prepared and comfortable as seeing a solicitor and talking about the abuse can unfortunately be difficult.
CampaigningACAL aims to represent the voice of the survivor in the legal compensation claims process, speaking out against perceived injustice in the law, such as the time limit obstacle.
ACAL/APIL Annual ConferenceEvery year, ACAL together with the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) organise and host an annual conference aimed at lawyers specialising in sexual abuse claims. This is an opportunity for sharing practice points, hearing from key speakers on recent legal developments and networking, with the overall aim of doing the best job for our clients.
ACAL publishes a quarterly newsletter to which members contribute and which provides valuable learning material for ACAL members, covering information about recent legal developments, case successes, and campaigns.
Our principal solicitor at Emmott Snell Solicitors, Tracey Emmott, sits on the board of executives of ACAL along with a number of other leading solicitors with expertise in sexual abuse compensation claims.
ACAL can be an important starting point for survivors. If you are looking to pursue a claim for abuse you suffered as a child and would like to discuss the possibility of making a civil compensation claim, please contact us for an informal and confidential chat.