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Sexual abuse in children homes

If you were sexually abused whilst in care as a child or patient, please contact us.

This could have been when you were in the care of a local authority or a charity or, perhaps, when in foster care.

You might be able to claim compensation for the physical and psychological harm you suffered. We will be able to advise you.

We could also help you to claim compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

If you have not done so already, we would advise you to report the sexual abuse that suffered to the police.

If you suffered sexual abuse whilst you were in care you may be able to bring a claim against the person who abused you or against the local authority, or both. The law can be complicated, and some cases are more straightforward than others. We would need to examine your case very carefully before advising.

Some restrictions may apply to your ability to bring a claim. For more information, refer to our FAQ section below. Alternatively, get in touch using the phone or envelope icons on this page to arrange a free initial consultation with the team.

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.

Northern Ireland Redress Scheme

The Northern Ireland Executive set up an inquiry and investigation into historical institutional abuse. The inquiry covered abuse of children under 18 who lived in children’s homes, borstals, training schools, juvenile justice centres, hospitals and orphanages between 1922 and 1995 in Northern Ireland. The investigation reviewed 22 institutions but noted there were further organisations identified. The report was published on 20 January 2017. The Inquiry found that abuse was ‘widespread’ within various institutions.

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Les Chenes Redress Scheme

Opened in 1979 and running until the 2000s, Les Chênes was supposed to be a residential home for children with a remand function. However, the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry report noted that all residents – whether young offenders or not – were, “in effect, serving sentences” there.

Some former residents alleged that they were subjected to emotional as well as physical abuse whilst on remand at Les Chenes. Many say they suffered psychological damage as result of their experiences.

Hugh James represented over a hundred former residents in their case for compensation.

If you are a former resident of Les Chenes you might be entitled to compensation.

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How can we help

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse as a result of your involvement in children homes or care, 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 as part of a children’s home or care organisation, 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.

Whichever course of action you choose, our lawyers have many years’ experience 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.

Our team of specialist 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.

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

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.

Abuse by foster parents

We have successfully obtained a settlement against a local authority for physical abuse suffered by our client at the hands of their foster parents.

Our client brought the claim out of the limitation period (being the deadline of three years from the date of the abuse or the age of 21 whichever is the latter).

The claim faced further complications as the alleged abuser had since passed away without a criminal conviction.

The claim was brought against the local authority as the employer of the foster parents who therefore would have been deemed vicariously liable for the acts of their employees during our client’s placement.

We were able to negotiate an early settlement for the client despite the hurdles the claim faced.

Grooming gang case

Our client was repeatedly sexually abused as a young teenager by grooming gangs in the local area after being placed in a children’s home by social services.

Social services acknowledged at the time, that the individual was at risk of being exploited having come into care having previously been sexually exploited in the area. The police failed to convict the perpetrators following disclosure of the abuse at the time.

The perpetrators were not viable defendants for a civil claim and no abuse was conducted by employees of the local authority. The claim was brought 10 years after limitation expired.

Danielle Vincent, Senior Associate in the Abuse Team represented the client to achieve settlement against the local authority prior to issuing the claim.

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.

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

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.

In most cases, you won’t. If a case had to go to court, we’d meet you in person to get your instructions, and do so in a place where you feel comfortable. You’d also have the chance to reconsider. If you wanted, we could arrange for you to give evidence by video.

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.

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