Abuse in schools by teachers

A school should be a place for pupils to feel safe and create the perfect environment to help children and young people flourish. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and children have suffered abuse from the very people who have a duty of care and are supposed to be looking after their best interests; teachers, assistants and other school staff.

Abuse takes place in all types of schools including; public, state, faith and special schools. Abuse can include physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

All schools are expected to have sufficient safeguarding procedures to prevent abuse by school employees. Over the years we have heard many accounts of children being abused in the education sector. By now it would be hoped that lessons had been learnt, and sufficient safeguarding procedures put into place to prevent history from repeating itself.

If you have suffered school abuse from a teacher or staff member

If you are a survivor of teacher sexual abuse or abuse from a school staff member whilst attending school, even if a long time ago, you should report it to the police.

It is also important to get in contact with the available help and support services who can offer free counselling and other advice on all sexual abuse cases. See below for a list of recommended support services.

How we can help 

If you were sexually abused whilst a pupil at school contact us for free initial advice. The school abuse could have happened at a state, private or public school. You might be able to claim compensation for the physical and psychological harm you suffered.

You may be able to bring a claim against the person who abused you or against the local authority in the case of a state school, or the owners of the private or public school. Many schools are insured and so the claim may be handled on their behalf by the insurers. This will depend very much on the circumstances of your case.

Our team of specialist lawyers offer survivors ongoing support throughout their case when dealing with abuse against teachers and other staff members.

Client, sexual abuse at school survivor -

Thank you for all your hard work in this case. As you said at the beginning, there wasn't much hope of a settlement from Jersey and I felt that this was the case too knowing Jersey as I do.

I can now look forward to getting some treatment for my PTSD and try to move on in life, which I wouldn't of been able to do without your help.

I cannot thank you enough.

Key contact

Alan Collins is one of the best known 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. 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).

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Your questions answered

What counts as sexual abuse?

 

Sexual abuse includes any form of unwanted touching, as well as name calling or internet contact, or using sex as a way of causing pain or humiliation. It can be a one-off occurrence or carry on over a period of time. It might have happened earlier in your life or still be happening now. If you have suffered sexual abuse, or you suspect someone else is being sexually abused, you should report it to the police, even if it was a long time ago.

How do I make a claim for sexual abuse?

 

We'll help you gather the evidence you need to make a claim. To help, you should try to preserve all the evidence as best you can. Photograph injuries, print off internet logs, keep soiled clothing safe in a freezer bag, and keep details of all doctor's or hospital visits. Get the names and addresses of people who could be witnesses, including people you told about the abuse.

What if there are no witnesses?

 

The courts know that abuse doesn’t always happen in public, and that there may be no witnesses. In many cases, your description of the sexual abuse may be enough to support a claim, particularly if other cases are reported. If there has been a criminal conviction, this will provide even greater grounds for claiming damages. But even if your abuser has been acquitted of all charges, it does not necessarily mean you can't claim compensation.

Is there a time limit for making a claim for compensation?

 

The time limit for making a compensation claim is usually two years from the date the abuse took place. However, as these compensation claims are often sensitive, these times limits can often be extended, especially if there has been a recent police or other investigation. We can advise you on this.

There are different time limits, or limitation periods, for bringing a claim for compensation for sexual abuse suffered in childhood. Ordinarily, the time limit is three years from the survivor’s 18th birthday; so the claim should be brought before they reach the age of 21. Many if not the majority of claims are brought outside this time limit.

If the survivor is outside of the time limit for bringing a claim, it is possible to ask the court to waive the time limit or to extend it. Each request to waive the time limit is decided on a case-by-case basis. However, the courts are fully aware of the difficulties that survivors of sexual abuse have in disclosing abuse due to the trauma they suffered.

How much will it cost?

 

We can represent you on a no win, no fee basis, so there’s no worry about having to pay. We’ll explain in detail how it works.

We’ll do only what you ask us to do – you’re always in control and can stop the process at any point.

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