Kathleen interviews a hero of hers, Ian Ackley, a survivor of abuse in football and an advocate for other survivors. He discusses the value of his lived experiences to help provide support, interventions and a helping hand through the reporting process.
Danielle and Feleena discuss consent to medical treatment and the possible legal recourse to the same. They discuss its relevance to the recent Netflix documentary “Our Father” regarding a fertility specialist in who inseminated dozens of patients with his own sperm, without their knowledge or consent.
Danielle and Kathleen share their thoughts on the CPS's new advice on pre-trial therapy, and the fact that therapy notes are now able to be used as evidence in trial. They believe that personal information could be used to discredit the victim by the defence.
An interview with Danielle, a senior associate in the abuse team and a regular contributor to HJ Talks About Abuse. She discusses her career so far, the highs and lows of working in the field and the positive impact of TV dramas on survivors coming forward.
Kathleen and Feleena share their thoughts on the Scotland Redress Scheme, which was set up for survivors of historical child abuse in care in Scotland. They also explain the process of submitting an application.
Read the full story here: https://www.hughjames.com/blog/scotlands-redress-scheme-hj-talks-about-abuse
An interview with Alan, a regular host of HJ Talks About Abuse, and one of the best known and most experienced solicitors in the field of child abuse litigation. He discusses the high profile cases he’s worked on including the Jimmy Savile and Jersey abuse scandals.
Get to know our new senior associate, Kathleen Hallisey in the latest episode of the HJ Talks About Abuse podcast. Feleena and Kathleen discuss Kathleen’s passion for helping vulnerable people to combat institutional abuse, and her big move from the US to practice law in the UK.
Read the full story here: https://www.hughjames.com/blog/introducing-kathleen-hallisey
A discussion about the recent Hugh James/NSPCC Abuse conference specifically looking at Prof. Michael Salter's talk on issues of consent when victims appear to be 'enjoying' themselves.
In this podcast Alan Collins; Feleena Grosvenor and Danielle Vincent discuss the report out of Westminster concerning the drop in rape prosecutions.
The report recommends that in order to reverse the trend Specialist rape investigation teams should be installed in every police force in England and Wales.
Reported rapes are at an all-time high, while prosecutions fell by 70% in the past four years, MPs said.
Further that police investigations should be focussed on suspects as opposed to victims but what could that mean in practice? The Abuse Team point out that the burden of proof is on the prosecution. It has to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt and so it is curious as to how this would play out in practice? There have of course been high profile cases where there have been acquittals following emergence of evidence that discredited the prosecution case.
The Team discuss whether some fundamental issues have yet to be addressed for example consent which is not, perhaps, really understood by too many in society and indeed those in the justice system.
The question is asked by the Team whether there was better education on consent then maybe there would not be so many sexual assaults, and where there are a better conviction rate. What is jury supposed to do when what they are being told is all over the place? We know that victims can be so traumatised that they cannot speak let alone explain at the time and subsequently.
The MPs in their report said they were "deeply concerned" by reports victims were avoiding accessing mental health support because they feared records of their therapy sessions could be disclosed to the defence and used to undermine their case. They further said new guidance on pre-trial therapy should be published as soon as possible. The Crown Prosecution Service said it recognised many victims felt let down by the criminal justice process.
The team discuss the concern that there has always been that therapy records would be used by the defence to discredit the victim. We see this in civil cases. Defendants and their lawyers routinely seek sight of medical records. There are looking for something to use. This is very intrusive often unnecessary and there should be more judicial toughness on this than there has been.
New "fundamental principles" on pre-trial therapy published by the CPS say police must request specific information when requesting therapy notes for an investigation, not make "unfocused requests". And they say therapy notes must only be disclosed to the defence when they might be considered to undermine the prosecution case or help the defence.
The team wonder how that will help in practice? Supposing the defendant knows something of the victim’s past, but only a little detail which may or may not be relevant: could it be a fishing expedition?.
Of course people today live their lives to a significant extent on-line texting and dare we say it “sexting”. What may seem private and ok turns out later to be far more significant than thought of at the time.
Among the recommendations in the MPs' report were that:
- The government should make it clear that every police force should have a specialist rape investigation team, as at least 40% of forces in England and Wales currently do not
- Ministers should consider creating a dedicated commissioner to represent the interests of victims of sexual violence, or expanding the role of an existing commissioner
- More victims should be given independent legal advocates to support them with requests for personal data, applications to refer to their sexual history in court or applications to access records of their counselling or therapy sessions
- There should be greater support for long-term counselling and therapy
- Police must be given the funding to get the equipment and skills to ensure rape victims do not have their phones removed for evidence-gathering for more than 24 hours
The team conclude by remarking will be interesting to see how this pans out but we are all agreed that what is necessary is:
- Proper funding
- Better and meaningful support for victims
If you need any help or advice, please visit our Abuse website page.
In this episode of HJ Talks about Abuse, Alan Collins and Feleena Grosvenor discuss two very different cases which give rise to civil liability.
Mark Page is a former Radio 1 DJ and stadium announcer.
At the time of the offences, Mr Page worked as a managing director of armed forces radio station Garrison FM. He travelled to the Philippines regularly as part of this role and used it as a cover to meet young children.
Mr Page used webcam to contact victims before travelling to meet them in person in the Philippines.
He was convicted of two counts of abuse by using a webcam linking his home to the Philippines in 2016 and two more of offences while visiting the country in 2016 and 2019.
In this case, Mr Page tried to haggle down the price for a sexual encounter with a 13 year old boy and 12 year old girl from 3,000 pesos, around £44. He stated that the price was too expensive.
This case demonstrates significant pre-meditation and the abuse of a position whereby he could visit the Philippines without suspicion.
The Philippines is a place of poverty and it is estimated that 60,000 children in the Philippines have been forced into prostitution to survive.
The Hugh James abuse team have previously successfully pursued a case against a British citizen who travelled to the Philippines to commit sexual offences against children.
For those listening who work with victim’s who have been abused abroad, there may be a civil claim to pursue.
Hannah Harris was a teaching assistant in Hertfordshire.
Ms Harris has been found guilty of having sex with a boy who was a 14 year old pupil.
The case shows significant premeditation due to the fact that Ms Harris had contact with the boy’s parents and created a fictional story whereby she had a daughter who was the girlfriend of the boy she was abusing.
This case also illustrates an abuse of position. Ms Harris groomed the boy whilst at school and progressed matters outside of school.
Ms Harris’ actions give rise to civil liability, but it also raises the question of any liability of the school. In this case, we do not have enough facts to determine this but in general terms there are instances whereby a school will be liable for the abuse of its teachers.
For those listening who work with victim’s who have been abused by employees, there may be a civil claim to pursue and against an employer.
For those listening who work with victims subjected to similar offences, there may be a civil claim to pursue in the UK even if the abuse occurred abroad. There also may be liability of a school or other organisation depending on the circumstances. It is essential that you contact experienced legal representation to obtain legal advice. You can contact Alan Collins or Feleena Grosvenor at Alan.Collins@hughjames.com and Feleena.Grosvenor@hughjames.com.