Another Catholic Church cover-up?

Those of us familiar with representing victims of child abuse are only too familiar with stories of cover-ups, and pressure being brought to bear not to speak out. I can only speak as I find but in such cases I am often struck by a prevailing inner conflict between doing the right thing and speaking out and a deep faith (some may say that it was indoctrination or brainwashing?). What follows sounds only too familiar, and it will be interesting to see how the story unfolds. Last month it was reported in The Australian that the Catholic Church was defended itself against fresh claims that it tried to cover up a police investigation into the abuse of intellectually disabled children at one of its Adelaide schools. The allegations were aired last night on the ABC's Four Corners program, which used documents dating back 20 years to reveal the church received legal advice telling it to avoid mentioning in writing charges of sexual abuse against a volunteer bus driver at St Ann's Special School in delaide. This kept the allegations from the public, and no attempt was made by the school or the Catholic Education Office to pursue the police inquiry into the bus driver, which stalled.

Church spokeswoman told The Australian last night the program was based on old material that was no longer relevant as the church had moved forward in its policies and procedures, including setting up preventive measures that were rigorously enforced. "The management practices of the late 1980s and early 90s arenot those of today, and there has been significant progress in dealing with this complex and painful issue," the spokeswoman said. "(Adelaide) Archbishop Philip Wilson's response in 2002 when he learned of the appalling abuse at St Ann's was to immediately write to the police commissioner to request the extradition of Brian Perkins from Queensland. "He adopted a generous and compassionate approach through the provision of ex-gratia payments, which was highly commended at the time." Archbishop Wilson was installed in 2001, shortly before a group of parents took their story to the media. In 2002, Monsignor David Cappo, the Rann government's social inclusion commissioner, met parents who wanted an inquiry, but the program was told he refused to accept parents' input into the terms of reference and that he "made a sudden exit". In the program, Archbishop Wilson denied the documents showed a cover-up. Archbishop Wilson and Monsignor Cappo face a separate accusation of failing to resolve a complaint by Archbishop John Hepworth of clerical sexual abuse. Archbishop Wilson and Monsignor Cappo, deny the accusation. For more on this story I suggest you go to The Australian If you want to discuss the issue of child abuse claims and what is involved please contact me in confidence. Alan Collins 0044 (0) 2392 492472 lternatively please contact my colleague Charles Derham. 0044 (0) 2392492472


Lisa has specialised in childhood abuse and social care negligence for the last 8 years and has extensive experience in relation to civil abuse litigation, CICA claim maximisation and Redress Scheme claims. She offers a sympathetic and professional approach to her clients’ problems and advises on funding options (including insurance and Conditional Fee Agreements.)

Since 2018 she has travelled around the country to see clients who were failed by Lambeth Council during their childhood in order to collate evidence for submission to the Lambeth Children’s Home Compensation Scheme. Lisa’s style of working is tailored to providing emotional support whilst applying the specialist legal expertise required to ensure her client’s have the best evidence for making a successful claim.

Lisa is able to access key psychiatric and social care experts to obtain evidence and therapy recommendations for clients. She can direct clients to treatment providers if required. Often such treatment costs can be claimed as part of the compensation process. This is a priority to ensure her clients have the best opportunity to make positive steps into the future. Lisa excels in applying questions to psychiatric experts to clarify and ensure they have a deeper understanding of the case issues where required. She is also experienced in negotiation to maximise outcome according to specific scheme terms.

For the last year and half, Lisa has been leading the firm’s participation in the National Abuse Inquiry specifically relating to the IICSA Lambeth investigation acting on behalf of 6 core participants. Such work involved the preparation of core participant applications, section 40 funding applications, detailed consideration of social care record evidence, witness statements preparation, attending preliminary hearings for consideration on the extent of other key party involvement, detailed work on documentary disclosure evidence from the council, police and other core participants to identify deep seated failings within the past care and policing systems, cross referencing, and work with counsel on composing Rule 10 questioning of corporate and police witnesses giving evidence at the IICSA Lambeth hearing. Lisa also accompanied a key core participant giving evidence to the IICSA hearing providing support and understanding to ensure her client’s evidence was sensitively taken into account when the panel make recommendations to protect children in the future. Questions were raised on the effectiveness of the current Serious Case Review system and how this has been operating within police and council’s across the country, something which has also been identified whilst working on specific civil cases. The hope is that improvements in the child protection mechanisms can ensure the safety of children in future.

Lisa also specialises in CICA claims, an area of work which has increased significantly following the lifting of the pre 1979 same home abuse rule which facilitated many victims being able to finally achieve justice relating to serious childhood abuse.

Lisa also has extensive particular experience in running civil claims relating to foster carer abuse, abuse in private/public/approved school institutions, church abuse, and abuse linked to gymnastics.

Her extensive knowledge of the Civil Procedure Rules, skills in evidence gathering and analysis of liability and causation, and experience in risk assessment and settlement negotiation make her a valuable asset to clients and colleagues alike.

Lisa has more than 20 years’ experience of dealing with Personal Injury matters ranging from road traffic accidents to workplace injury and liability.

Lisa is fluent in German and Persian. She also has experience in Civil Litigation regarding Debt Recovery, Breach of Contract, and Insolvency Law

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"I would like to express my profound heartfelt gratitude to Lisa Gafarov for all her hard work and understanding when representing me. She fought passionately for my case for two years.

Within this time, never once did I feel it was about the money for her. She was very considerate and dealt with many personal matters in a caring and professional way. It was a very sensitive case but she put in a lot of hard work and went the extra mile each time. Her wide range of expertise was indispensable during this difficult time. Because of this I trusted all her advice and as a result, this took a lot of pressure off of me.

She managed to reach a very amicable conclusion between the defendants and myself. You don’t know how much your passion impacts the lives of others. For this I am forever grateful. I would recommend your firm a hundred times over."
Anonymous, April 2019

Lisa studied ‘Contract Law, European Law and Employment Law’ as part of her degree in BA (Hons) Business Administration. She has also studied other business subjects, including accounting.

Having completed her degree, Lisa started work for Verisona Law in November 1999 in the Personal Injury department as a Trainee Litigation Clerk and since then has developed extensive skills in relation to personal injury litigation and case preparation.

  • Road traffic accidents
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  • Slip and trip claims
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  • Industrial disease claims
  • Work related upper limb disorder claims
  • Clinical negligence, including amputation claims
  • Cosmetic surgery claims
  • Abuse claims

"Thank you for all your much appreciated hard work. I will truly never forget your kindness towards me. Your patience, respect and understanding at all times was beyond words. The sincere compassion shown meant more to me than words could ever express. This firm will forever hold a special place in my heart."


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