One small step for the Church but a giant step for humanity

Whether you are a victim of sexual abuse in England or in ustralia the biggest hurdle that you have to overcome in the fight for justice is the law on limitation. In simple terms in England and the ustralian states there are laws which prohibit the bringing of so-called stale claims. When the parliamentarians were making these laws they probably never thought about victims of abuse, let alone the fact that by the very nature of the injuries suffered would never think about making a claim until many years later. onsequently victims’ lawyers have to work very hard to get round these difficult  and seemingly unjust laws. In my experience defendants invariable raise limitation as a defence regardless of the merits, and so it seems a great shaft of light is with us now that  the nglican hurch in Brisbane has resolved to negotiate a protocol for waiving the time limit blocking child sex abuse victims from suing. motion calling for the church to stop invoking the statute, which is 21 years in Queensland, was debated at the Brisbane diocese annual Synod reported he ge, but did not pass. However, an amended motion was passed as follows: "(Synod resolved to) sk the archbishop and council to continue its ethical lead by undertaking negotiations with the diocesan insurers to establish a protocol for dealing with claims by victims of child sex abuse when the diocese considers it appropriate not to invoke the time limitation defence without losing indemnity from our insurers," the motion read.

The spokesman told he ge that the synod, a parliament of 400 clergy and lay people, backed continuing discussion of the issue. "We'll be writing to our insurers and saying we want to meet with you to formulate an agreement that allows us to instruct you to waive the provision of the stature where it's appropriate," he said. he synod also supported continued lobbying by nglican leader rchbishop Phillip spinall for a uniform national statute of at least 37 years, the current level in NSW, Victoria and asmania. "We've written to all national heads of churches to ask them to join us in appealing for unity," the church spokesman said. "We want victims of sexual abuse to be treated fairly and we don't think the current statute of limitations does that. "We want to make sure that if people want to sue us through the court system the statute of limitations is not going to be an impediment ... but there are cases where the statute of limitations is actually quite valid." Whilst the last sentence is unwelcome, because I struggle to see why the “statute of limitations” could ever be valid in a sexual abuse case, the approach being adopted is more than welcome. One small step for the hurch but a giant step for humanity. If you have been sexual abused and want confidential legal advice please contact me. Alan Collins Or you can contact my colleague Charles Derham


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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