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11 December 2020 | Podcasts | Article by Alan Collins

HJ Talks About Abuse: Criminal proceedings – a survivor’s perspective

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In this week’s episode of the HJ Talks About Abuse podcast, our Partner Alan Collins, talks to survivor Nicole, about her experience of going to court when her abuser was prosecuted.

Nicole’s case is interesting not just because of her story and the experiences she shares with us, but for two particular reasons:

  1. There was a “Goodyear” hearing; and
  2. The judge made a Criminal Compensation Order

What is a “Goodyear” hearing?

This is the procedure by which a defendant can obtain an indication as to the sentence to be imposed upon a plea of guilty “and is governed by the decision in R v Goodyear[2005] EWCA Crim 888). At the defendant’s request, the court can indicate the maximum sentence it would impose were the defendant to plead guilty at that stage of the proceedings. Proceedings should be held in open court.

In Nicole’s case, the defendant’s lawyer asked the judge what would the sentence be? Having been advised a suspended prison sentence, the defendant pleaded guilty and was duly sentenced.

In the podcast Nicole explains how she felt at the time, and offers her reflections.

Criminal Compensation orders

The criminal courts on sentencing offenders are required to consider making a compensation order which is defined in the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 (PCC(S)A 2000), to mean an order which requires the offender to pay compensation for any personal injury, loss or damage resulting from the offence.

Unfortunately, many, if not most victims of sexual abuse are not awarded compensation.

Nicole is something of a rarity because as she explains, she was awarded compensation.

We have raised with both IICSA and the UK Parliament the fact that so few orders are made, when clearly in many cases they should be.

The APPG Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse in its report said:

“Survivors’ experiences of court and applying for compensation” wrote:

The inquiry also heard how judges are not using their powers to issue Criminal Compensation Orders at the conclusion of a trial, with only 26 issued in 2017. Of those awarded, some were as low as £20 for the ‘rape of a male child under 13’.

We will be asking Westminster to tell us what progress has been made to remedy this glaring defect in the justice system.

We encourage anyone who has concerns about sexual abuse to get in touch. You can contact Alan Collins at [email protected] or Danielle Vincent at [email protected].

Author bio

Alan Collins


Alan Collins is one of the best known and most experienced solicitors in the field of child abuse litigation and has acted in many high profile cases, including the Jimmy Savile and Haut de la Garenne abuse scandals.  Alan has represented interested parties before public inquiries including the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, and IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse).

Internationally, Alan works in Australia, South East Asia, Uganda, Kenya, and California representing clients in high profile sexual abuse cases. Alan also spoke at the Third Regional Workshop on Justice for Children in East Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok hosted by Unicef and HCCH (Hague Conference on Private International Law).

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.


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