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Child Abuse and Sexual Abuse Claims

We act on behalf of those who have been sexually abused by issuing civil proceedings.

Victims have the right to pursue child and sexual abuse claims, which can include for historic child and sexual abuse. This could be against an individual or against an institution that failed to prevent abuse.

We understand that cases involving sexual abuse are sensitive and the victims are often left traumatised and distressed. Our sexual abuse solicitors in Dublin can help manage your case in a confidential and compassionate manner.

What is considered child abuse and sexual abuse?

Child abuse covers a range of issues, including physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Child sexual abuse is where a person under the age of consent is used by another person for their sexual arousal and/or gratification. This can involve acts such as exposing children to sexual activity (including through pornography), as well as sexual touching, masturbation, oral and penetrative sex.

Where can child and sexual abuse occur?

Child abuse, including child sexual abuse, can occur in a wide range of settings, including in the home and in institutional settings.

Child and sexual abuse in institutional settings

Unfortunately, in Ireland, we have a history of institutional sexual abuse of children. Institutional abuse can take place in a wide range of public organisations including:

  • Schools.
  • Children’s homes/foster care.
  • Religious organisations and communities.
  • Youth sport such as football, gymnastics, swimming.
  • Activity groups such as drama, music, youth clubs, scouts.
  • Hospitals and other clinical care settings.
  • Community groups.

School abuse claims are some of the most common types of claims as child sexual abuse in schools is, sadly, all too common.

How long do you have to make a child sexual abuse claim in Ireland?

In a civil case, the statute of limitations allows six years from the date of the assault to bring a child abuse claim against an individual. However, if pursuing an organisation or institution the time limit is two years from the date of the assault.

Can you claim for historical child abuse and sexual abuse?

There are certain exceptions to the statute of limitations rule. It can often take a victim of sexual abuse years to realise the injury that they have sustained. In such cases, a child sexual abuse claim may be possible outside of the normal time limit. This may apply in situations such as potential school child abuse claims.

Under Section 48 (a) of the Statute of Limitations the clock on the statute of limitations only commences once the victim is deemed psychologically capable of bringing a case. To rely on Section 48(a) the victim must prove that they sustained a psychological injury, and that this injury prevented you from bringing proceedings. This is a matter that a psychiatrist must provide an opinion on, so their expertise should be sought for potential historic sexual abuse claims.

Who can make a child abuse and sexual abuse claims?

Anyone who has experienced child abuse may potentially be able to make a claim. It is important to seek specialist legal advice to be clear about the right to claim, including with regard to the relevant time limits.

How do you start a child abuse and sexual abuse claims?

Reporting the abuse to An Garda Siochana is an important first step as this essential for any criminal proceedings and will act as a key piece of evidence for any civil proceedings.

A solicitor will be able to help with civil proceedings for anyone who wishes to pursue a claim against their abuser or an institution that failed to prevent the abuse.

Civil Proceedings versus Criminal Proceedings

It is important to note that criminal proceedings are brought by the Director of Public Prosecutions and seek to punish the perpetrator of the alleged abuse. Civil proceedings are brought with the intention of seeking compensation for the victim of the sexual abuse.

How can Lavelle Partners assist you in bringing a claims

  • Lavelle Partners have over 35 years of experience successfully managing many sexual abuse civil cases.
  • Our award-winning team will listen to your case carefully and with empathy and will only recommend advancing your case if we believe you have a valid case.
  • We have both the legal expertise and understanding of the real-life challenges faced by individuals and their families following such events.
  • If you are living abroad, we work closely with lawyers in other countries including the UK , America and Australia, to make sure our clients receive the best service and that cases are dealt with efficiently .

What our clients say about our experienced Civil Litigation Team

Expert advice and the priority they gave, in particular their attention to detail.’

The Legal 500, 2022

The firm listen to the issues, make sure they understand the precise problems and then accurately summarise the situation with suggested remedies. They make you feel comfortable and you don’t feel you are “on the clock”.’

The Legal 500, 2022

I have immediate access to their advice via email/telephone and it’s always friendly and professional. I can rely on their recommendations at all times.’

The Legal 500, 2022

Related news

Updated Scoping Inquiry

Christian Brother pleads guilty to charges of systematic sexual abuse in Tuam school

Minister Foley announces details of scoping inquiry into historical religious order sexual abuse claims

The Minister for Education to announce inquiry into historical abuse in schools

Inquiry into allegations of abuse at Blackrock College confirmed by Taoiseach


For further information on making a claim for sexual abuse or child abuse, please contact Lavelle Partners in confidence on (01) 644 5800 or email law@lavellepartners.ie

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