Child Abuse in Schools

Child Abuse in Schools

If you are or have been a victim of abuse at school, whether emotional, physical or sexual abuse, you could be entitled to compensation for the injuries and trauma you have suffered.

Unfortunately, the abuse of children in schools is more common than perhaps thought. Teachers, residential workers, caretakers, peripatetic teachers and other school staff have all been implicated in the physical abuse of children. Importantly, the threat still exists notwithstanding the checks that are frequently undertaken to prevent inappropriate individuals having access to children. The reality is that those who search for children to satisfy their evil intent will not stop simply because a set of rules have been introduced. They will simply find new ways to access children, become more cunning and manipulative in the pursuit of children to satisfy their malevolent objectives.  It therefore remains essential that adults remain vigilant and when they are concerned about the behaviour of an adult, share their concerns with others. Reporting abuse in schools will reduce the number of offences committed.

Although many cases that come before the criminal courts relate to offences that occurred many years ago, there are still plenty of instances of offences committed after the 2002 Soham tragedy.

In 2016 a former teacher, who worked in Uxbridge and Watford was convicted of sexual assaults which were committed going back to the 1970s. Terence Back was found guilty and convicted of indecent assault on three pupils. These assaults were committed at Kingsway Junior School in Watford and Whitehall Junior School in Uxbridge. He was handed down a six-year custodial sentence.

Also in 2016 Paul Turner, a piano teacher, was convicted of Indecent assault and gross indecency on a boy in the 2000s. The assaults were committed in Mr Turner’s home and at Riseley Church of England School. Mr Turner was sentenced to 18 years.

Another music teacher, Duncan McTier was found guilty of three incidents of sexual assault against pupils going back to the 1980s. He was put on the sex offenders register until 2021 and was given a suspended three-month sentence.

A former maths teacher, Nigel Bristowe, pleaded guilty to 5 counts of indecent assault between 1999 and 2000. The assaults continued even after the 15-year-old babysitter’s father learnt of the abuse and had warned Bristowe off.

Ian Atkinson was found guilty of nine offences, including indecent assault, an act of gross indecency and of downloading indecent images of children. The offences took place at Ripon Cathedral Choir School and in Hampshire. He was jailed for 12 years and placed on the sex offenders register for life.

Richard Hillary was a teacher and sports coach in Hampshire. The assaults took place at the Wavekk School in Farnborough and at the Winchester Athletics club in the 1970s and 1980s.He WAS found guilty of 14 counts of indecent assault against girls, who were under the age of 16. He was jailed for 15 years.


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Of course, money can never make up for the abuse that you have suffered, but it can provide the means to take the steps towards recovery and healing. A child-abuse compensation claim could allow you to obtain funds for:

  • Medical treatment (for that already paid for, and for future treatment expenses)
  • Therapeutic resources, such as access to specialist abuse counsellors and psychologists
  • Further education and training, to improve career prospects
  • Physical and emotional harm caused by the assaults both at the time of abuse and throughout your life

At IBB, our experienced child abuse solicitors have helped abuse victims from all walks of life. Whether you were abused in childhood, or are a recent victim (or the parent of a child who has been abused) our solicitors will review your case with compassion, sensitivity and professionalism. We can meet you at home or at a convenient location to discuss whether you have the grounds to make a compensation claim. We offer a free consultation and a no win, no fee agreement.

Schools of Interest

We are currently acting on behalf of a number of children and adults who alleged that they have been victims of abuse. We are therefore interested to hear from anyone who attended or worked at the following schools:


Reports of child abuse rose sharply in 2013-14 with the police recording 36,429 offences against children in the UK (Source: NSPCC Report (2015) How Safe Are Our Children?).  The research, carried out by the NSPCC, involved interviews of over 6000 young adults, teenagers, children, and parents of younger children, revealed that 1 in 20 children in the UK have been sexually abused 9Source: Radford, L et al (2011) Child Abuse and Neglect in the UK today).

In our research on the extent of abuse in schools (which was published in the report Safe From Harm), Freedom of Information requests from education authorities in England, revealed:

6,107 allegations of sexual or physical abuse were made against nursery, primary and secondary school teaching staff in the three complete academic years (i.e. 2008/9, 2009/10, 2010/11).

The NSPCC statistics and our own experience, suggest that victims of abuse – whether emotional, physical and sexual – are now more likely to report the abuse and to seek justice. In 2014 /15 ChildLine carried out 29, 126 counselling sessions with children and young people about some form of abuse (Source: Childline Annual Report).

In July 2018 the BBC reported that sexually motivated, inappropriate conduct, was the reason for one third of teaching bans. Examples of behaviour cited include teachers kissing pupils, showing pornography and sexual relationships. One teacher measured pupils’ penises.

Although the National Education Union indicated that the numbers involved was “tiny” compared with number of teachers, the NSPCC clearly thinks more should be done and said that safeguarding children “must always be a top priority”.

The research by the BBC revealed that where a teaching subject was specified, that research showed PE teachers faced the most investigations, followed by music and science. Furthermore, male teachers represented about 70% of the cases. It is perhaps obvious, but worth stating, that not only should schools rely upon formal checking procedures but also use common sense and their senses to identify potential inappropriate behaviour and encourage reporting abuse in schools.

Mandatory Reporting of Suspicions of Child Abuse

Following the shock and outrage of the murder of two school girls by a known paedophile Ian Huntley, who worked as a caretaker in the school at Soham, many campaigners and child welfare groups called for the mandatory reporting of suspicions of child abuse. Many see this as an essential step in safeguarding children from abuse and ensuring that instances of child abuse in school are quickly identified and dealt with appropriately.

As well as schools and boarding schools, the abuse of children has also been recorded in care homes, hospitals and organised sex trafficking and abuse rings where the authorities failed in their duty of care.

Mandatory reporting will help protect our children. However completely removing the risk of paedophiles operating in schools and boarding schools can probably never be achieved, as perpetrators will potentially always slip through. It is therefore important to be vigilant and highlight the present and future risks of predators operating in schoolshospitals, community groups, care homes and other institutions.

Our expertise in child abuse compensation claims

Our dedicated team of specialist child abuse solicitors have supported children, adults and their families with both recent and historic child abuse claims. Our expertise has been independently recognised by a number of organisations, including the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers.

The process of commencing legal proceedings allows a victim to bring the perpetrator to account for their actions, to prevent other children being potentially abused and to obtain the financial resources to facilitate their emotional recovery from abuse. 

If you have been abused at school, or you are the parent of a child who has been abused, our solicitors could help you

If you are a victim of abuse, whether physical, emotional or sexual, and would like advice on how to make a claim for compensation, contact us in confidence today on 0333 123 or through our online contact form.

We offer a free initial consultation to discuss the circumstances of your case. You will not need to provide any specific details of the abuse, and are under no obligation to discuss any painful events. Our experienced abuse solicitors will ensure that you feel safe and will deal with your enquiry with compassion and sensitivity.

  • Malcolm Underhill
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  • Simon Pimlott
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  • Rachel Green
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