What are you looking for?

Sexual abuse compensation solicitors

Justice means different things to different people. What matters to us is what justice looks like to you.

For survivors of sexual abuse at Hugh James we have the specialist knowledge and experience to advise and represent you.

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse, you may want justice, compensation, or simply an apology. You may also want further advice and support.

Whether the sexual abuse suffered was by an individual or institution, you deserve justice. For many people, this includes the compensation you may be entitled to. While compensation can’t undo the experience of suffering abuse, it can help you start to move on with your life.

Obtaining compensation enables you as the victim and survivor to make decisions that often assist to rebuild their life, and plan for the future. At Hugh James, we can help you with that journey.

Compensation often allows a survivor to seek specific therapy that cannot be obtained on the NHS or return to education which has often been disrupted due to abuse as a child/young adult or even employment due to ongoing criminal process.

The team has specialist experience and knowledge and is made up of both male and female solicitors. We offer you the the choice of male or female solicitor to make you feel as comfortable as possible. You will receive a tailored one to one service for your specific needs because we know well that there is no one size fits all approach to working with victims and survivors of abuse.

Whichever course of action you choose, our lawyers have many years’ experience of working with survivors of abuse, and will always have your best interests at heart. You’ll find us sensitive to your needs, expert at listening, and thoughtful and considered when explaining the options open to you.

Free confidential chat

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse in any form, you have every right to make a claim for damages, and we’re here to advise and support you through the legal process. We will:

  • Speak to you in confidence
  • Listen and advise
  • Welcome a friend or family member to be with you
  • Only do what you ask us to do

You are in control – you haven’t started a process you can’t stop.

Where can abuse occur?

Below are some areas where sexual abuse can occur:

If you have suffered from sexual abuse in any of the above settings, please contact one of our sexual abuse compensation solicitors today.

What counts as sexual abuse?

Sexual abuse includes any form of touching without a person’s true consent. In legal terms, that means knowing you have the right to say no, you understand the possible outcomes of saying yes, you’re not tricked into saying yes, and are of an age or mental ability to say yes. Sexual abuse can also include being watched or photographed naked, without consent.

If the victim is a child, is mentally impaired – whether permanently or due to alcohol or drugs – or is under pressure, it will be viewed as no true consent.

You can also take action for forced circumcision, male or female, if it’s against the law in the country it happened.

Rape and sexual abuse are serious crimes, and the police have officers trained specially to help you. However, you don’t have to go to the police. We may be able to help and can advise you in confidence.

Find advice relating to:

Free confidential chat

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse in any form, you have every right to make a claim for damages, and we’re here to advise and support you through the legal process. We will:

  • Speak to you in confidence
  • Listen and advise
  • Welcome a friend or family member to be with you
  • Only do what you ask us to do

You are in control – you haven’t started a process you can’t stop.

How we can help with sexual abuse claims

The abuse team have the breadth of experience to provide a holistic approach to the case you wish to bring. That means looking to the future as well as the past to establish what you need to obtain realizable justice.

We appreciate that compensation may mean accessing the services and opportunities you need to rebuild your life. This is why a holistic approach is necessary. We need to understand you so that we can do the best for you.

Our team of specialist sexual abuse solicitors have helped many people secure sexual abuse compensation. One of our team can offer you a free consultation to give you advice on making a claim. They can meet you at home, in our office, or any location you choose – or we can talk on the phone if you prefer.

Please don’t feel worried or embarrassed discussing your claim with one of us. We’ll deal with your case with great care and attention, and completely confidentially, to help you achieve the justice you deserve.

Our expertise in abuse claims

Partner, Alan Collins, leads our team of sexual abuse solicitors. Alan has helped many people who’ve suffered abuse with compensation claims and is one of the best-known solicitors in abuse litigation. Alan has acted in many high-profile cases, including the Jimmy Savile and Max Clifford abuse scandals. Alan represents clients in the UK and internationally and has worked on sexual abuse claims all over the world, including in Australia, Uganda, Kenya, and California.

Kathleen Hallisey is an American attorney and UK solicitor. Throughout nearly two decades of practising law, she has acted only for injured people. For the past decade, she has acted exclusively for victims and survivors of abuse. In 2015, she brought the first successful case in the UK against the Jehovah’s Witness organisation and since then has become a vocal advocate for victims of abuse in faith settings, including the nuances of spiritual abuse. She was one of two solicitors recommended by the Jesus Army redress scheme and represented over 100 victims and survivors of the Jesus Army. She has also acted on behalf of victims and survivors in claims against private schools, football clubs, local authorities, the Scout Association, and the MOD.

Danielle Vincent specialises in sexual harassment claims. She also works with clients who have been abused during NHS examinations, teacher abuse and much more. She has significant experience of claims against local authorities for failure of social services and foster abuse/children’s home abuse.

They have real expertise in child abuse claims and other civil damages/human rights act damages claims.

The Legal 500

Alan Collins is a star – he has the expertise, ferocity and sensitivity that is particularly required for sex abuse claims.

The Legal 500

From the word ‘go’ Alan was the perfect type of solicitor to handle my case. The team at Hugh James was really professional whilst at the same time really easy to talk to.
Alan kept me updated all the time. I honestly believe if I had got the wrong solicitor I might not have gone through with it, because I had never spoken to anyone about it. Alan just knew how to put me at ease. He knew what he was talking about and that helps a lot.

Robert Whiteside

For anybody that has gone through what I went through, and if they are worried about speaking to solicitors, Alan and the team are the ones to go to.
I had the choice of a male or female solicitor to talk to and they approached everything the right way.
Alan was very private and had to be very careful how he contacted me. Even my family was unaware. I couldn’t receive an email or a telephone call unless I knew it was coming. Together Alan and I came up with a plan and he stuck to it.

Robert Whiteside

I hope that my testimonial helps to encourage other silent victim’s to come forward because I know there must be many who aren’t aware there is help/advice. Hugh James can help them prepare any details they can remember of the abuse they suffered then present their case to the NIHIA who will make their judgement. This could result in compensation being awarded which is rightfully theirs, but most importantly they would not need to stand up in a court of law to face their abuser’s. Thank you all at Hugh James for everything you did for me.

Robert Whiteside

How we act for our clients?

We listen; we do not simply hear.

We offer a confidential one-to-one service.

We will sit down with you and listen to what you have to tell us. We let you decide how best to go about telling us your story.

We provide frank and candid advice. Sometimes we have to advise that a claim is not possible, but you need to know that. You have the right to know where you stand and what your options are.

If you bring a claim with us, you are at its centre, and we will advise and help you all the way. We will ensure that your identity can be anonymised as this is often a reason why clients do not disclose.

We’ll help you gather the evidence you need to make a claim. Get the names and addresses of people who could be witnesses, including people you told about the abuse.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA)

Hugh James represents various core participants at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was set up in the wake of some serious high-profile instances of non-recent child sexual abuse and because the government had some very grave concerns that some organisations were failing and were continuing to fail to protect children from sexual abuse.

IICSA’s remit is wide-ranging, but as a statutory inquiry, it has unique authority to compel both witnesses and any material it considers necessary in order to investigate where institutions have let children down in the past.

IICSA has, for example, examined the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches and is due to hold hearings in relation to the Jehovah Witnesses and other Christian denominations as well as other religions.

For more information on IICSA, please get in touch by clicking on the phone or envelope icons on this page.

Key contact

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).

Case studies

Filming without consent

We have successfully obtained settlement against our client’s co-worker who had secretly filmed him in the bathroom during the working day.

The individual had used his mobile phone to take the images of our client on at least one occasion without our client’s knowledge or consent.

The claim was brought directly against the individual rather than the employer as the act was not completed in the ‘course of employment or akin to employment’ which would have deemed the employers vicariously liable for the act.

We were able to negotiate with the perpetrator to come to an early settlement for psychological injury and loss of earnings which followed on from the incident.

Church of England vicar abused young boy

We recently represented a client who bravely disclosed the abuse he had suffered at the hands of his local vicar in the early 1980’s when he was a young boy.

The vicar in question had been accused previously of sexual misconduct against a child but after a short period was permitted to return to the church where he continued to abuse at least two other survivors.

In addition to conducting the civil claim, we were able to support the client while he attended the criminal trial and also with a media appearance in which our client spoke out against the abuser.

The claim was settled without the need for civil court proceedings. Our client also received an apology letter from the church which was important for him as the church recognised failings within the institution.

If your experience with the Church of England is similar to our client, get in touch for a confidential chat about your circumstances.

Abuse from a secondary school teacher

We represented a woman who had been sexually assaulted and groomed by her schoolteacher throughout her secondary school years. This had impacted her education greatly and delayed her career.

The school in question had been aware of previous inappropriate behaviour by the said teacher but allowed him to remain in his position of trust. The client disclosed the abuse whilst she remained a pupil, however the school did not report this to the police.

The claim was brought outside of the limitation period; however, we were able to progress the claim swiftly without needing to issue court proceedings.

We secured a settlement for our client, to reflect her psychological injury and loss of earnings from a delay in her career.

Abuse suffered in a children’s home

We recently represented a client who only disclosed her abuse she suffered in a children’s home after finding a book by another survivor disclosing their experience. This encouraged our client to disclose the abuse she had suffered at a children’s home in the 1970’s for the first time.

Our client had been placed by a local authority into a large children’s home, which were common placements for children in the 1960’s -1970’s who were removed from their families.

The claim was made substantially out of time for limitation (almost 40 years) with no conviction against our client’s abusers. Due to the passage of time, our client could not recall all of her abuser’s names.

Another hurdle that we faced was that our client’s records were no longer available, other than dates on entry into the home.

A financial settlement was reached with the local authority prior to issue of court proceedings. This provided our client with some closure that there was recognition for the abuse she suffered and after many decades of worry she would not be believed, she was.

Free confidential chat

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse in any form, you have every right to make a claim for damages, and we’re here to advise and support you through the legal process. We will:

  • Speak to you in confidence
  • Listen and advise
  • Welcome a friend or family member to be with you
  • Only do what you ask us to do

You are in control – you haven’t started a process you can’t stop.

Your questions answered

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.

You can make a claim for sexual abuse compensation against an abuser, but also any organisation, institution or individual that failed in their duty of care to protect you from harm.

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.

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.

In England and Wales, you have the right to remain anonymous throughout the prosecution and compensation process. If your case looks like going to court, you’ll still have a chance to reconsider. If you want, we can arrange for you to give evidence by video link. However, it’s worth noting most sexual abuse claims are settled out of court.

Yes, as long as they have assets or money which you can sue them for.

Yes, you can still apply for compensation under the government’s criminal injuries compensation scheme. When we advise you initially, we can tell you whether this would be relevant to your case.

Institutions such as hospitals, care homes, schools and the church have a duty of care to make sure you are protected.

If you were sexually abused by someone in a leadership role it is likely that the organisation would be liable but each case is different and so we have to examine the evidence very carefully to ensure that there is a liability.

It may be that the case has to be brought against the individual abuser, but much will depend on the evidence and circumstances of the sexual abuse. If there has been a conviction against the individual, that is likely to assist the case. In the absence of a conviction, we have to look for evidence that supports the case because we have to prove the allegations. Not all cases go to court many are resolved or settled, but we always have to be mindful that we have to prove the allegations, and that is where our expertise comes in.

Many institutions are insured and so the claim may be handled on its behalf by the insurers. This will depend very much on the circumstances of your case.

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.

Yes, the costs of treatment can form part of your compensation claim. We can also advise you about specialist help that might not be available through the NHS.

You may be entitled to compensation for sexual abuse that happened outside England or Wales, if:

  • the abuser is in, or from, England or Wales
  • the person who arranged or organised the abuse is in, or from, England or Wales
  • the person or the organisation the abuser worked for lives or is based, in England or Wales.

We’ve represented many clients living abroad and have successfully brought claims for sexual abuse based on the above.

There may be emotional or physical signs. Emotional signs can include a change in appetite, depression, anxiety or avoiding intimacy. Physical signs of sexual abuse might include self-harm, bruising, physical pain, bleeding or even suicide attempts. Of course, these may be signs of something else rather than sexual abuse, and you should try talking to them first.

Absolutely. You have a right to confidentiality, so no one else will know what we discuss unless you tell them.

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.

Next steps

We’re here to get things moving. Drop a message to one of our experts and we’ll get straight back to you.

Call us: 033 3016 2222

Message us