Enquiries and Cameras

I posted on the blog very recently an Australian report concerning the abuse of disabled children, and there has been some further coverage which I found interesting. The latest coverage says that catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson doesn't believe an independent inquiry is needed into the sexual abuse of disabled children but says he understands the pain suffered by their parents. Why do  people in authority and  organisations say this but then refuse to accept responsibility, refuse an enquiry, let alone compensate the victims? Maybe they do feel the "pain", but do they? Maybe in this case the Archbishop did feel the "pain"and, hopefully, for the victims the right thing has been done by them and their families. I ask the questions though because this  type of case is only too familiar to those involved in representing victims. An ABC “Four Corners” program about a ‘bus driver's sexual abuse of disabled children at South Australia's St Ann's Special School between 1986 to 1991 said the church was given legal advice not to mention sex abuse charges when it sacked Brian Perkins in 1991. The parents of some of the children believe there was a cover-up and are calling for a full independent inquiry. They say the only inquiry that ever occurred failed to mention the children and contained no recommendations. It is reported that the archbishop maintains he believes there was no cover-up - just confusion about how to deal with the problem. And that he didn't think an inquiry was needed because since he arrived in 2001 he had done all he could to bring Perkins to justice and help the families.

 "It is a terrible thing to see the reality that was shown last night on Four Corners, everything about that is just really terrible, I wish it had never happened," Archbishop Wilson told B radio. "I don't think there is any need for an independent inquiry ... since 2001 we have dealt adequately and properly with all these matters. "I really understand the terrible pain that these people have experienced, because of what has happened, and I really have done all I could to help them in that." Perkins, who worked as a paid and later volunteer driver at the school, was charged with sex offences when police uncovered pornographic photos of children in his possession. He was granted bail and fled, with nothing happening until 2001 when a group of parents discovered the abuse and demanded answers. Perkins was later jailed for 10 years and six months after pleaded guilty to five offences involving three students, even though the abuse involved 36 intellectually disabled students. Perkins died in jail in 2009. he atholic hurch investigation into the abuse found it failed to conduct a background check on Perkins, who had previous sex offences, and that the church and its agencies had also failed to properly exercise their duties in other areas. South Australian Dignity for Disability MP Kelly Vincent says governments are failing people with disabilities but it can be stopped. She wants education for children and video cameras placed in buses carrying intellectually-disabled children. Now that is a constructive idea?    For advice about pursuing a claim for child abuse please contact me. Alan Collins alc@verisona.com (0) 2392492472 Alternatively please contact my colleague Charles Derham crd@verisona.com (0) 2392492472


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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