Charles Derham of Verisona Law features on BBC Wales in relation to Cyntwell School abuse claims

Seven men who say they were sexually abused while pupils at a former Cardiff school in the 1960s and 1970s have received about £350,000 in payouts since 2011, BBC Wales has learnt. David Leighton Davies, an art teacher at Cyntwell High School in Ely, is alleged to have carried out the abuse. The allegations range from sexual touching to rape. Cardiff council said the claims were settled by insurers with no admission of liability. "This is another tragic example of the way in which lives of individuals have been marred as a result of professional abuse," said Wales' children's commissioner Keith Towler. "Financial compensation is not going to mend the harm that has been done but it does provide the clear and crucial message that the victims have been believed." He added: "Childhood sexual abuse has a devastating effect on the emotional well-being and mental health of victims. We all have a duty to listen to children and young people and to protect them." Davies was convicted of sexual offences against three 15-year-old boys in 1977 and died shortly after his release from prison in 1980. Those attacks took place away from the school, which had closed in 1972. The individual settlements are understood to range from £10,000 to £66,000 and were paid out at various points over the last three years. Solicitor Charles Derham of Verisona Law, who acted for several of the claimants, said that settlements like these often make individuals feel better even if the organisation paying out does not accept liability, as in this case with Cardiff council. "Generally for most individuals they find it a very cathartic experience as able to draw some kind of closure from the matter and draw a line in the sand," he said. "For many individuals they're able to then move on with life and try and put the past behind them and acknowledge the settlement not only as financial compensation for what they went through but also as a recognition for what happened to them and they're able to understand and appreciate that for once they're actually being believed." In a statement the council said: "Claims have been received by ardiff council with regard to alleged sexual abuse relating to yntwell High School dating back to the 1960s and 1970s, whilst under the responsibility of one of ardiff council's predecessor authorities." he claims were settled out of court by the authority's insurers with no admission of liability, the statement said. "The council is unable to release further information regarding these allegations due to confidentiality and the protection given to sensitive personal information of this type under the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998," it added.

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.


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

Client testimonials

"Lovely, friendly, great people. Very understanding too and very good at what they do. Very happy with the result, many thanks again Lisa and everyone involved in my case."
Anonymous

"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
  • Accidents at work
  • Slip and trip claims
  • Occupier’s liability claims
  • Product Liability claims
  • 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."

Anonymous


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