Abuse and sexual assault claims

Abuse in the Church of England

Have you suffered abuse by the Church of England? We can help you seek the justice you deserve. Contact our specialist lawyers in religious abuse claims in confidence.

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Slater and Gordon Lawyers has extensive experience of supporting those who've suffered from abuse. Our service is guaranteed to be confidential, and our specialist lawyers aim to bring you justice and compensation. Talk to us now on freephone 0330 041 5869 or contact us online to speak to one of our legal experts.

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What is religious abuse in the Church of England?

Places of worship should be safe places for everyone in the community. Unfortunately this isn't always the case and some of the worst cases of abuse have occurred in the Church of England. Sadly, some religious leaders have taken advantage of their status, trust and influence amongst their congregations and the public, and have used their positions of power to sexually, physically and psychologically abuse children and vulnerable adults.

Their positions of authority within the church and wider community meant that it was extremely difficult for children and vulnerable adults to report what had happened, and if they did, they were often not believed.

As a result of public inquiries and criminal prosecutions, more victims have felt empowered to speak out and report what happened to them.

How do you make a claim for abuse that took place in the Church of England?

If you've been abused by a religious leader within the Church of England or someone else who works within the Church of England, even if that abuse took place many years ago when you were a child, not only has a criminal offence been committed, but you've also suffered as a result, and you have the right to seek compensation.

Just like cases of personal injury, if you've been injured, physically and/or psychologically, you should be compensated for your suffering.

If you or a loved one have suffered abuse within the Church of England, no matter how long ago it was, you should contact an experienced lawyer who specialises in representing victims and survivors of abuse as soon as you feel able to. When you're ready to talk to someone, we're here to listen.

Where has abuse by Church of England religious leaders taken place?

Priests have access to many people in many places across the UK and the world. We’ve represented many people who have reported abuse which has taken place:

  • In Churches and Cathedrals
  • In Church of England Schools
  • At Church of England events, such as music festivals
  • At the victim's home

Regardless of where the abuse has taken place, if you've been abused by religious leaders within the Church of England, you should have access to both justice and compensation for your suffering.

What should you do if you’ve been sexually abused by a member of the Church of England clergy?

If you’ve been sexual abused by a religious leader in the Church of England, in the first instance, you should report it to the police so they can carry out a full investigation. The next step would be to speak to a specialist lawyer who deals with cases of abuse within the Church of England. Not only will they seek compensation for the unnecessary trauma suffered by you, but also seek private treatment and support.

We understand that it can be extremely difficult to talk about such traumatic events, but we will provide you with support and advice every step of the way.

How do you know if a lawyer is specialised in representing victims and survivors of abuse?

Abuse law is a very specialised area of law and you need to choose a law firm with genuine expertise. We've acted on behalf of many hundreds of victims and survivors of abuse within the Church of England and have dedicated specialists in England, Scotland and Wales who have helped them get the justice they deserve.

We’ve worked on some of the most high-profile cases in recent years and are dedicated to ensuring you not only receive the compensation and justice you deserve, but you also get the treatment and support needed to enable you to move forward with your life.

What should you do if the abuse in the Church of England happened many years ago?

In many cases of child abuse where the abuser was someone with a position of power, it’s understandable that those who suffered the abuse didn’t come forward to report what happened to them at the time.

This is often the case where the abuser was someone who was trusted, such as a religious leader within the Church of England as they were undoubtedly trusted, and influenced many members of the public. Therefore, many victims and survivors who suffered abuse within the Church of England many years ago when they were children, only feel able to come forward when they’re adults themselves.

Our compassionate experts understand the difficulties you can face when reporting historic child abuse and will provide all the necessary support and assistance you need.

What is Mandatory Reporting?

If somebody working with children, either teachers, health workers, nurses, sports coaches, youth group leaders, religious leaders, etc. has any reasonable suspicion that a child may be being abused, or something isn’t quite right, then they should have a legal duty to report that suspicion to the police who then have a legal duty to investigate. This is known as Mandatory Reporting.

Currently in the UK there isn’t a general legal requirement on those working with children to report known or suspected child abuse or neglect. However, the statutory guidance, Working Together to Safeguard Children, states that “anyone who has concerns about a child’s welfare should make a referral to local authority children’s social care and should do so immediately if there is a concern that the child is suffering significant harm or is likely to do so.”

Although there is no absolute legal requirement to comply, it requires people and organisations to take it into account and, if they don’t, they need to have clear reasons for not doing so. There are campaigns for Mandatory Reporting in this country, and Slater and Gordon’s abuse law team have been at the forefront of those campaigns.

Will details of your abuse within the Church of England stay confidential?

We understand that confidentiality is hugely important to those who have suffered abuse within the Church of England, and it takes a lot of courage to speak out about what happened. As solicitors, we’re bound by strict confidentiality and if you decide you want to make a claim, any information you tell us will remain strictly confidential.

As part of your claim, it will become necessary for certain authorised people to have access to your information, such as independent medical experts. However, you can rest assured that no information will be disclosed without your prior authority.

In addition, anyone who is the victim or alleged victim of sexual abuse has a guaranteed legal right to anonymity. If it becomes necessary to issue court proceedings, we can reinforce this by making a court application to protect your identity. Our lawyers are highly experienced in this area and will guide you and be there for you through the process.

How much will it cost to make a claim for abuse that took place within the Church of England?

Our abuse specialists offer a free, confidential consultation to provide you with advice on your case.

If you decide that you wish to make a claim, there are funding options available. We’re able to offer No Win No Fee funding, which means there’s no financial risk for you.

If you’ve suffered abuse within the Church of England, you can speak to one of our dedicated team in confidence on 0330 041 5869 or contact us online.

We’re professional, yet compassionate and will handle your case with the utmost care and respect.

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