Child Abuse in Churches & Religious Organisations
Churches and places of worship are somewhere young people should expect to be completely safe. Sadly, this is not always true and cases of church child abuse do happen.
The fact that religious organisations and members of the clergy, who are supposed to be some of the most-trusted people in society, allow this is deeply distressing. Even more shockingly, some institutions have tried to cover up these crimes or failed to reveal abuse allegations to the police and social services. These safeguarding failures, which often allow child abuse to continue, are also a crime.
For survivors of abuse in the church, it can take years of painful suffering in silence before they come forward to seek justice and hold their abuser to account.
At Hudgell Solicitors, we can support men and women who have been abused in childhood by anyone associated with the church, including at schools run by religious institutions. Even if the abuse happened decades ago, we can often still help.
Our specially-trained abuse lawyers recognise how difficult and upsetting it can be to take legal action, but we promise to listen and help you through this emotional time by handling your case with respect, compassion and sensitivity.
Having worked on wide variety of child abuse cases, our specialist solicitors have a proven track record of helping survivors. With your help, we will seek justice and compensation from the individual, church or religious organisation responsible as quickly as possible. In most cases, this can be done without needing to go to court.
Our child abuse cases are usually funded on a ‘No win, no fee’ basis – so you can access justice without any financial risks. We can also advise whether to make a claim through the Government-funded Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
To hold those responsible for your suffering to account, please call us or get in touch and discuss your case in confidence – we promise to identify the best way to ensure justice is served.
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Making a claim against a church or religious organisation
Abuse in the church or any other religious organisation is completely unacceptable, no matter when or where it took place.
Whether the abuse was carried out by a priest, vicar, minister, nun, verger, church assistant, church musician or any kind of volunteer, it is possible for survivors or their relatives to bring a case against the perpetrator.
It is also possible to take legal action against any religious organisation for allowing the abuse inflicted, including the Church of England, the Catholic Church, Church in Wales, Protestant Churches, Evangelical Churches and Jewish organisations.
If it can be proven that the church or organisation knew about the abuse – or should have known about it – and they failed to act, they can also be liable for negligence. For example, if a child told someone in the church about the abuse and nothing was done about it.
Making a compensation claim against a religious organisation is often the best course of action because they are insured against abuse claims – meaning those responsible will be brought to justice and the survivor will receive compensation.
Reporting child abuse in churches & religious settings
We would urge anyone who has suffered church child abuse or abuse in a religious setting to report it to the police immediately. If necessary, our solicitors can act on your behalf and make the initial contact.
Whether it was sexual, physical or emotional, child abuse is a crime and every police force in England and Wales has a specialist child protection unit to handle current and historical abuse complaints. If required, they can also put you in touch with professional who can offer support throughout the process.
A successful outcome in criminal proceedings could assist with your case. But even if a criminal conviction is not secured, it will not necessarily prevent you from bringing a church child abuse claim for compensation.
What time limits apply to making a claim?
Survivors of church child abuse sometimes stay silent for years before disclosing what happened to them. Often, this can be because it’s difficult to come to terms with.
In highly-sensitive cases like this, the courts are very understanding and recognise that there are reasons why it may take time to come forward. There are time limits for bringing a compensation claim, but it is possible to pursue justice and receive compensation even if the offence occurred many decades ago.
We would always advise that you speak to our lawyers as soon as possible because it’s important to receive expert advice when you do make a disclosure. Whenever you feel comfortable, we would encourage you to get in touch so that justice can be served.
What funding options are available?
Hudgell Solicitors can usually provide access to justice without any financial risks by funding your case on a ‘No win, no fee’ basis.
No matter what the outcome of your case, or which religious organisation it may be against, you’ll only pay an agreed percentage of any damages received – providing you give honest and accurate instructions and fully cooperate to help us.
In some instances, we can represent you using Legal Aid, but we will explain all the options available if we take on your case.
For free and confidential advice from a specialist child abuse solicitor, please get in touch today.
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