13 men jailed over Bristol sex-abuse ring

The Guardian reports that 13 men, all of Somali origin, have been jailed after being convicted of the systematic sexual abuse of vulnerable girls in Bristol. The girls, some of whom were in local authority care, were groomed and passed around by their abusers, often for money, and assaulted in homes, parks and a hotel.

Charles Derham, specialist child abuse solicitor for Verisona Law, comments that these recent convictions are sadly reminiscent of the Rotherham scandal, which raised the issue of local authority culpability relating to social services failures when making care decisions.

A serious case review will be examining whether more should have been done to protect these girls in Bristol, and this may give an indication as to whether the local authority or the police are at fault in any way.

Looking at similar cases we are dealing with, it is often the case that communication and interaction between the police and social services seems to have been haphazard and disorganised at times. It appears that authorities have failed to link up current allegations to potential historic allegations made, and that they have unfairly doubted allegations made by people who have been abused or their families.

We find that many of the clients we represent are looking for justice in relation to failures by the system to protect them at their most vulnerable time. We do all we can to obtain the full records behind each case - so we can understand exactly how the police and social services treated allegations and whether there were any failings in child protection.

This is not always straightforward but we have a lot of experience of investigating these cases and know where to look for documents and evidence that might have become ‘lost’ in the system. If we identify failures that led to the abuse occurring, we can build a case and claim compensation for you, for physical and mental injuries.

If you or a loved one has suffered from abuse, please contact us for advice (you will also find a lot of information on this website). There is no obligation and we will treat what you tell us in the strictest confidence.


Charles has considerable specialist experience in pursuing claims for compensation for those who have been abused in childhood. His specific expertise means that he is recognised locally, nationally and internationally for his work which has taken him all over the world including, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

He is also recognised for his significant involvement in the high profile litigation against St Georges School (Anglemoss Limited) and Cyntwell High School. These cases involved a staggering number of individuals who pursued those responsible whom despite heavily defending the claims brought against them settled by way of out of court settlements.

Charles regularly features in local and national press and he is often asked to provide his professional opinion and commentary on relevant abuse law issues and developments on radio and television broadcasts. Such broadcasts include BBC South Today, BBC Wales, ITV and ITN News.

You can follow Charles on Twitter and Facebook.

Charles obtained his Law degree at Kingston University, before successfully completing his Legal Practice Course. He trained and qualified with Verisona Law beginning his specialism in the field of child abuse claims. He received his higher rights of Audience in 2012 making him one of the youngest Solicitor-Advocates in the country who is able to represent his clients in the High Court. Charles is head of the abuse team who collectively have secured compensation for hundreds of victims of abuse.

He began diversifying in to other aspects of abuse law and his team are one of the very few in the country who specialise in claims against social services.

He is involved in complex group action litigation and also represents a number of individuals and who are pursuing private companies, local authorities and perpetrators in pursuit of their justice.

Charles has strong contacts with some of the most prominent barristers who advise on abuse claims including a number of QC’s. He also has robust connections with highly qualified expert witnesses he instructs in support of those who he represents.

  • Child abuse claims
  • Claims against social services
  • Complex/Catastrophic Clinical Negligence claims



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