Southampton authorities fail to protect seven year old boy

Media reports* have revealed that Local Authorities missed 18 chances to save the life of Blake Fowler from Southampton, who died from severe head injuries after years of being sexually, physically and emotionally abused. Details of the report reveal that the seven year old boy often arrived at school with bad bruises was once admitted to hospital with a swollen penis and facial injuries told staff 'Daddy gives me bruises' and this was recorded in a case review was made to watch porn and given vodka had suffered from 'unacceptable errors' by authorities in tackling 'explicit abuse' Arrests were made, but not one individual has been prosecuted over Blake's death. Teachers, police, council, doctors and the safeguarding board have apologised, but what must we learn from this? ‘It is heartbreaking to read the details of this case and it begs the question as to how could this happen as recently as 2011,’ says Charles Derham, specialist child abuse solicitor for Verisona Law. ‘Sadly our abuse team comes across multiple failings by authorities on a daily basis relating to care decisions made, often linked to the failure of child protection bodies to communicate with each other as to the extent of evidence available at such crucial times.’ Inevitably, there will be similar cases to Blake’s that have yet to come to light. Currently, Safeguarding Children panels are obliged to investigate when a child has died or been seriously harmed by abuse or neglect and there is cause for concern as to the way in which the authority or others worked together to safeguard. However, this only came into force in April 2006 and relies on abuse being formally identified and reported - difficult when people have spent years in silence, trying to forget the abuse and unable to confide in the closest relative, let alone the authorities. An abused child may eventually escape the perpetrator’s abuse and commendably try to move on in life, but the impact of the abuse can be devastating, echoing on into adult life. Often people do not even think to question the actions of authorities in relation to social care decisions made in childhood, but it is only by investigating poor decisions that systems can be improved for children in the future. Sadly there is nothing that can be done for Blake Fowler, but the abuse team at Verisona Law is here to help people look more carefully at decisions made about their care. If you feel that you have been let down or treated badly when under the care or supervision of social services, even a long time ago, we can help you get compensation and closure by bringing a claim on your behalf. A claim may be possible if Social Services · removed you from the care of your parents, placing you in an abusive environment · failed to intervene and take you into their care to protect you · failed to make adequate assessments in relation to your needs · made care decisions exposing you to further harm We are here to listen and work with you to find answers and make sure your experience does not go unheard. Contact Charles Derham at or on 023 9244 6920. *

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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