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Child Abuse Solicitors on alleged abuse by Dr Gordon Bates

By Associate, Personal Injury

Slater and Gordon Child Abuse Solicitors are investigating reports that hundreds of victims were assaulted as part of pre-employment medical assessments.

It was reported in the Sunday Mirror (17.11.2013) that police are investigating allegations that Dr Gordon Bates assaulted hundreds of women at company medicals. Police are currently investigating allegations that Dr Bates, who died in 2009, carried out hundreds of unnecessary intimate examinations as part of pre-employment medical assessments. Many of the employees were Barclays Bank employees. It has been reported that there are up to 300 victims and it is understood he worked for Barclays Bank along with 4 others. One of the victims has described being “scarred by the experience”. Northumbria police are now investigating.  

As Bates is deceased it will not be possible for a criminal prosecution to be brought against him. However, Slater and Gordon have been contacted by a number of the victims and are currently investigating the potential civil claims that victims may have and we are keen to speak to anyone that has information relating to this case. We understand that Dr Bates was instructed by Barclays Bank directly and on this basis we may be able to argue that Barclays are vicariously liable for his actions. The law of vicarious liability allows claims to be brought against institutions responsible for the defendants where the defendant is employed or in a relationship akin to employment.  

There may be difficulties in regard to limitation due to there being a limitation period of 3 years from the date of the incident (or from the age of 18 if the victim is under 18 at the time of the incident). However the courts recognise the difficulties victims of abuse have in not being able to come forward and can therefore exercise their discretion under section 33 of the Limitation Act 1980 to disapply the relevant limitation period. It may, therefore, be possible for the victims to bring civil claims for the abuse that they suffered despite them being made out of time. It has been reported that there are a large number of allegations made against Dr Bates and this will add strength to the Claimants’ argument for the court to order Section 33 discretion.

In light of the fact that a criminal prosecution cannot take place we hope that the prospect of bringing civil action may assist victims in achieving a sense of justice and closure. At Slater and Gordon we feel it is paramount that we look after victims who are harmed and not only address the crimes of the perpetrator. For many, bringing a civil claim is the only means by which payment can be secured for much needed psychological treatment.

We are currently gathering information and evidence in relation to the offences by Dr Bates. If you have any information that may assist please do not hesitate to contact a member of our specialist abuse team. We are currently working on a number of abuse cases and are familiar with dealing with the legal issues that often arise and understand the difficulties in speaking out and the support required following this. Please feel free to contact Jessica Standley, a member of our abuse team on 020 7657 1658 for free confidential advice with no obligations.