Rolf Harris – Is this just the beginning?

On Monday 30th June, the entertainment industry was shaken to its core as one of its best known and widely adored figures, Rolf Harris, was found guilty of 12 counts of indecently assaulting four girls, including a childhood friend of his daughter, in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Prosecutors said Harris was a ‘Jekyll and Hyde' character who took advantage of his fame. One autograph-hunter was aged just seven or eight years old at the time of the assault against her. Now, police have revealed they are considering allegations against Harris, 84, which did not form part of his trial and news reports indicate that up to 12 more people have come forward with new claims of abuse against the disgraced entertainer. ‘It would appear that, after the successful prosecution of Harris, more of his victims have found the strength and courage to come forward,’ says Charles Derham, Specialist hild buse Solicitor for Verisona Law. ‘It is all too easy to be cynical, but the truth is that it is often the fear of not being believed, especially when raising allegations against such a public figure, which holds victims back.’ ‘These criminal prosecutions will considerably strengthen civil claims for compensation against the entertainer, but victims need to carefully consider the background to their allegations. If an instance of abuse occurred that was closely connected to Harris’ employment by a media organisation such as the BBC for example, then the employer may be vicariously liable.’ The Historic Abuse Team at Verisona Law understands that some of the alleged victims coming forward are from Harris’ home country of Australia. ‘There is no barrier to victims claiming from abroad,’ confirms Charles. ‘However, they will need specialist UK expertise as this is where Harris resides and all allegations of abuse are being considered.’ Harris is the latest in a number of successful high profile prosecutions of indecent assault. year ago, former BBC radio and television personality, Stuart Hall, was sent to prison and earlier this year, celebrity publicist Max Clifford was sentenced to a custodial sentence of eight years in prison, the first successful prosecution of the police’s ‘Operation Yewtree’. Now reports suggest that a number of well-known figures will be being brought forward to face similar allegations. ‘If there are victims considering coming forward, they need to seek legal advice sooner rather than later, as there are strict court deadlines for making claims,’ advises Charles. ‘We have successfully represented clients across the UK and abroad who have told us our support and belief in their allegations makes all the difference when facing the daunting prospect of negotiating the legal process to bring a claim. ‘ ‘The most important thing, and what I would wish most for the victims in this latest case is that that the successful prosecution of Harris will bring some sort of closure and they can move forward with their lives.’

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."

"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."


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