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.

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

"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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