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. *

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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