BBC Panorama Reports on Verisona Law Cases

A school that was placed in the spotlight by the BBC’s Panorama programme on child abuse cases this week has been publicly exposed for its lack of mandatory reporting and subsequent cover-ups. Research undertaken by the BBC’s Panorama for its programme entitled ‘After Saville: No More Secrets’ has revealed that seven child abusers worked at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School in Reigate, Surrey between the 1950s and 1980s. In one of the most detailed historical file reviews undertaken in recent years, Panorama uncovered documents held in the National Archives detailing an institutional cover-up going back decades. Verisona Law acts for a number of individuals who allege they were sexually abused whilst resident borders at Royal Alexandra and Albert School and subsequently failed by the organisation. Charles Derham, Head of the Child Abuse Team at Verisona Law believes that, had mandatory reporting legislation been in existence, then potentially hundreds of children would have been spared horrendous abuse by people in a position of trust and responsibility. ‘There can be a very simple, schematic approach to reporting abuse,’ he explains. ‘If you’re in a position of authority and have probable reason to believe a child is being abused, you should be obligated to report this.’ While statutory guidance has been issued urging professionals such as teachers, doctors and social workers to report suspected child abuse, as the law stands today it is not a criminal offence to fail to report it. ‘If clear and effective law was implemented it would make reporting a simple task,’ says Charles. ‘The prospect of mandatory reporting is not a new idea – it already exists in many countries such as Australia and Canada, as well as several US states including Florida.’ ‘One cannot help but wonder if mandatory reporting was in existence at Royal Alexandra and Albert School, would these individuals have evaded such horrific abuse? They certainly would not have to now face the legal battle we are engaged in to receive the justice they so deserve.’

We understand that it is not unusual for those who were subject to abuse to come forward later in life. If you or somebody you know were subject to abuse please do not hesitate to contact Charles Derham our specialist child abuse solicitor. We will treat any communications with the strictest of 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.

Charles is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers.

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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