Derek Mackay: A case of sexual abuse of minors and abuse of position of power

Between 2016-2017, in England alone, there were more than 43000 recorded sexual offenses against children under 16 years of age. An additional 11,000 were recorded for children above 16 years and under 18 years of age.

Police has been uncovering an “epidemic” of child sexual abuse going back the past few decades. In 2014, allegations that led to guilty verdict were reported to be 4,024 after matters were investigated by the police. These incidents of abuse are many decades old and often involve individuals of authority and power such as religious workers, care workers, youth workers and teachers. The impact on victims had ranged from lifelong trauma, PTSD and in some severe cases suicide for the victims who were left with severe mental and emotional problems.

Instances of such abuse of power exist to this day. Recently, a senior SNP member Derek Mackay came under scrutiny when suggestive texts to a 16 year old were exposed. Mackay contacted the young man over Facebook making comments about his looks calling him “Cute”. Mackay was seemingly made aware of the age of his target by the boy himself but despite this continued in this line of inappropriate correspondence. The young man, who cannot be named due to his age expressed feelings of being “grossed out” by the exchange. He further commented “I was nervous about telling her because I felt stupid about it”. He added “I didn’t want her to be disappointed because she had warned me about the dangers of social media but I still fell for it”.

Who is Derek Mackay?

Mr Mackay, who is the finance minister for SNP is the father of a teenage son. He should have known better. However this abuse of power does not stop with this one instance. He also bombarded SNP activist Shaun Cameron, 25, with “creepy” messages. Mackay met Shaun at an SNP fundraiser whom he later tracked down on Facebook before making suggestive comments asking about his sexuality. He asked Shaun for “naughty pics” before putting pressure on him to keep their correspondence private. Shaun has expressed his inability to tell Mackay to back off due to his standing with the SNP. Shaun was 21 when this started and it went on for years.

In a time when cases of grooming gangs are so prevalent in the news, it is perhaps not surprising to see such blatant abuse of power from high profile politicians.

Mr Mackay released a statement in response to the allegations against him; “I take full responsibility for my actions. I have behaved foolishly and I am truly sorry”. He goes on to add “”I apologise unreservedly to the individual involved and his family”. He has also resigned from his position with the SNP and has this to say about his time with the party; “I spoke last night to the First Minister and tendered my resignation with immediate effect”. “Serving in government has been a huge privilege and I am sorry to have let colleagues and supporters down”.

Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, and leader of the SNP had this to say regarding Mr Mackay’s resignation; “Derek has taken full responsibility for his actions and apologises unreservedly for them to the individual and to those he has let down. He has submitted his resignation as a government minister which I have accepted”. “Derek has made a significant contribution to government; however he recognises that his behaviour has failed to meet the standards required.”

“I have behaved foolishly and I am truly sorry”

Although Derek Mackay has been disgraced in this manner and lost his position as the finance minister at the SNP, to be replaced by Kate Forbes, it still acts as a stark reminder that sometimes people in position of power can abuse it. It is important to note when instances such as this happen the focus should not only be on bringing the perpetrator to justice but also looking for the best interest of the victims.

Thus far there have been no claims brought forward by the victims affected in this saga however it is important to note Mr Mackay has only been suspended by the SNP at the time of writing but remains a member of the Scottish Parliament.

NHS negligence during birth, leads to claimant receiving 20m in compensation

A young girl, who suffered Cerebral Palsy due to errors by the Royal Berkshire Hospital, due to clinical negligence during birth, has been awarded 20.7 Million in compensation. The girl, who cannot be named due to age, has quadriplegic cerebral palsy. According to her clinical negligence lawyers, who brought the claim forward on her behalf, the hospital missed four chances of delivering her sooner, which would have prevented lifelong injuries.

The chief medical officer for Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Janet Lippett expressed “deep regrets” and advised the trust was “pleased that a settlement has been made” due to the level of care provided that “fell below our usual standard”. Dr Lippett went on to add the institution “wish the family well for the future”.

The 8 year old, who suffered traumatic birth, has an “extremely positive attitude to life” according to her legal representation. Despite being intellectually capable, she suffers from physical disabilities that severely affect her life. As such, care is required for the youngster around the clock. As the child grows older, she is increasingly frustrated by the limitations that will affect her for the rest of her life.

The claimant’s solicitors allege the Hospital did not opt for a caesarean section soon enough, having failed to respond to her hearty rate for hours before birth. This caused irreparable brain damage due to oxygen deprivation.

David Balcombe QC, who represented the trust expressed “No amount of financial compensation will ever be sufficient, bearing in mind how (the girl’s) life has been so badly affected, but what we do hope is that the award will provide financial security for her for the rest of her life.” He also offered the Trust’s “unreserved apology”.

The girl’s mother advised this settlement would go towards 24-hour care for her child and this would mean her daughter can “achieve the best possible life and fulfil her great potential”.

Judge Margaret Obi approved the settlement that would provide more than £20 Million over the girl’s lifetime to meet her care and needs. Judge Obi also paid tribute to the family for their devotion and care and wished the family well in the future.

This case highlights the difficulties that may arise during childbirth even at the hands of trained professionals with high standards of care. Unfortunately, a lapse of judgement can not only affect the baby during birth but also severely hamper their ability to leave a “normal” life. This in turn can have implications both financially and emotionally for the families who are left caring for the individual for the rest of their days.

Should you be aware of such an instance, even if you feel this unavoidable, it is important to seek advice in relation to compensation, which can often be a very crucial factor in attaining the best quality of care and life for the people affected.

Mental Health Act – Facts and Statistics

The Mental Health Act is a law which helps doctors decide if a person with a mental health problem needs to be kept in hospital. Patients detained under the act are often said to have been sectioned. Patients can be detained in the interests of their own health or safety, or for the protection of other people. They can also be treated in the community but subject to recall to hospital for assessment and/or treatment under a Community Treatment Order (CTO).

How many people have been detained?

Between April 1st 2018 and March 31st 2019 people were detained under the Mental Health Act 49,988 times. Some of these detentions may be related to the same patient who have been detained more than once.

Data seen in the annual figures produced by the NHS and the Office of National Statistics show that for every 100,000 men in the UK 91.4 have been sectioned at some point during 2018-19. While 83.2 women per 100,000 were sectioned. Amongst adults, detention rates tend to decline with age, detention rates for the 18-34 age group stand at 128.9 per 100,000 people. This is around a third higher than for those aged 50-64, with 89.0 per 100,000 being detained.

Analysis shows that in 2018-19, 84.5% of detained people were only detained once, a further 15.5% of these went on to be detained again. Only 2.5% had to be detained more than twice. These results are very similar to last year, which suggest that repeated detention for the same people are not a major factor in the rising levels of detention in England.

This also goes to show that the detention method used by doctors to help those in need of care works with just under 70% of people not being detained more than once.

Looking to the future

The Mental Health Act is likely to become more and more prominent in coming years as the health and social services aiming to better protect the vulnerable people in communities across the UK. Sectioning patients can not only help protect patients at their most vulnerable times but also help them make a recovery and enable them to be allowed back into the community.

We believe that as a country we need to combat the underlying issues that cause people to pose a risk to themselves or others around them. Only then will we see the numbers start to decline but unfortunately that’s likely to be some time away.

Source: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/mental-health-act-statistics-annual-figures/2018-19-annual-figures

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the UK 2020

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the UK 2020

About a third of all adults in England report having experienced at least one traumatic event. Traumatic events were defined as experiences that either put a person, or someone close to them, at risk of serious harm or death, like a major natural disaster, a serious car accident, being raped, or a loved one dying by murder or suicide.

Individuals who experience such trauma may go on to develop PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a severe and disabling condition, characterised by flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance, numbing and hyper-vigilance. While effective treatment exist, many with the condition delay seeking help or are not identified by health services.

How many are affected in the UK?

A survey completed by the office of national statistics in 2014 had participants complete a 17 item PTSD checklist. Those with a score of 50 ore more were identified as screening positive for PTSD. A positive screen did not mean that a disorder was present, only that there was sufficient symptoms to warrant a further investigation.

Overall, about one in twenty (4.4%) screened positive, with similar rates for bot men and women. Among women, the likelihood of screening positive for PTSD was particularly high among 16-24 year olds with 12.6% positive. This then declined sharply with age, while in men the rate remained stable between the ages of 16 and 64, declining in much later life.

People screening positive for PTSD were about six times more likely to have recently used health care for a mental or emotional problem, than those who screened negative (60.5% compared with 10.4%). However, by no means all had done so: four in ten adults who screened positive had not spoken with a GP about mental or emotional health in the last year (39.8%).

Around half of those screened positive for PTSD (50.9%) were currently receiving treatment for a mental or emotional problem. The most common form of treatment was psychotropic (mental health) medication, either on its own (26.9% of those who screened positive), or in a combination with psychological therapy (16.7%). Psychological therapy without medication was the least common form of treatment (7.3%).

Is the problem growing?

Although this survey was taken in 2014 the evidence very much reflects the growing problem within society. The next survey is due to take place in 2021 and will provide us with comparable results. We know how crippling post traumatic stress disorder can be for victims and that’s why we offer our services on a no win no fee basis to help victims get the support and compensation they deserve.

We believe that all those suffering should have access to the support from medical professionals, we have seen first hand how Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can change peoples lives. We have also seen how with the right care and support people can move on from the traumatic event still causing them pain.

Source: https://files.digital.nhs.uk/pdf/q/3/mental_health_and_wellbeing_in_england_full_report.pdf

Dangerous Machinery accidents in the UK

Dangerous Machinery accidents in the UK

Employers have a duty of care to protect their employees, especially in environments where heavy operating machinery is involved. This is done through adequate training and ensuring equipment is in good working order through regular maintenance and safety checks. Workers should also be provided with adequate clothing and protective gear. According to RIDDOR Statistics 8% of all reported Fatal injuries between 2014/2015 – 2018/2019 happened through contact with moving machinery.

Was my accident just an accident?

Despite the above accidents can happen. Accidents do not happen for no reason, when one does occur there is always a lapse of safety precautions in effect. If you have suffered an accident at work due to dangerous machinery, lack of training when operating such machinery or not been given proper protective hear and tools, then you are entitled to compensation. This also includes any loss of earnings due to the time spent out of work and any future losses you might suffer as a direct result of your injuries sustained in the accident.

What do I do if I have had an accident at work due to unsafe machinery?

If you have suffered an accident at work due to dangerous machinery, you should immediately bring this to the attention of your manager and seek medical help. Employers have an obligation to keep a record of all incidents of such nature in an accident book. Ensure this is done. You should also make a note of:

How the accident happened.

Take pictures where possible.

Get witness details where possible, such as work colleagues who were present at the time.

Could the incident have been avoided through training, maintenance or additional safety equipment?

Will I lose my job if I make a claim against my employer?

Your employer has a duty of care to protect you from injuries and accidents whilst at work. Should such incidents occur all businesses are required to have adequate insurance to protect themselves and their employees.

Should I be worried about costs and being able to afford my claim?

If we find your employer is indeed responsible for your accident and this could have been avoided, we shall, with your consent, make the claim on your behalf. We take a majority of claims on a “No Win No fee” “Conditional Fee” basis, which means we do not charge you any monies up-front and get paid at the end of the claim only when and if we are successful with your claim. Usually this comes from the other side through a small percentage of the settlement.

Your Injury Claim will be made against the insurance policy your employers have in place for situations exactly such as this. Furthermore, they cannot simply get rid of you for making a claim for injuries at work. In fact, your employer cannot harass or give you trouble at work for making an Injury Claim. Should this happen or you are fired, your employer will open themselves to an unfair dismissal claim which can be extremely costly for them. It is illegal to fire employees for having injuries at work.

Source: www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causinj/kinds-of-accident.pdf

Slip and Trip Accidents in the UK 2020

Slip and Trip Accidents in the UK

Slip and trip accidents are incidents that occur where people have slipped or fallen over due to an obstruction or hazard caused by careless or lack of maintenance by responsible bodies or authorities. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE); in 2018/19 roughly 214,000 injuries were reported linked to slip and trip accidents. 37% of all injuries reported in the workplace were caused by slips and trips and 28% of all fatalities at work were caused by or linked to falls and trips. However, such incidents are not just limited to work environments.

Where do slips and trip accident usually happen?

Slips, trips and falls can happen anywhere yet not all of these are pure chance can be avoided if there is no contributing hazard. Slips and trips accidents occur in council owned properties, car parks and shopping centres and these can be prevented by carrying out proper maintenance. Councils and owners of public places owe a duty of care to visitors in ensuring chances of accidents are minimised but accidents can still happen due to lack of safety and maintenance. If you have suffered a slip and trip injury on a council or public property you might be entitled to compensation.

What causes slip and trip accidents?

Slips and trip injuries are usually caused by wet floors due to spills or liquid from mopping where warnings have been left, raised carpets and matts, leaks from malfunctioning equipment, overflowing toilets or liquids and slippery substances dropped on the floor in cafés, restaurants or night clubs. Accidents from falls can also happen outside on council owned properties and some examples include tripping on a raised, uneven, cracked or damaged paving stones, overgrowth of plants, moss, ice that has not been sorted or bad lighting in car parks.

What should I do if I have suffered a slip and trip injury?

If you have suffered a slip and trip injury at your work or public place and you wish to make an injury claim from slips and trips, information gathering and reporting are very important. You should:

Report: Although immediately after the incident your main concern is to tend to your injuries, you should report the cause or fault to the concerned authority. All shopping centres and public places have staff and management, who should be informed of this. They are required by law to keep a record of all incidents and causes. This will help ensure your injury is recorded and tended to should first aid be required and the proper medical personnel called.

Evidence (Photos, Witnesses): Whether it is a spill on the floor, leaking equipment, a cracked or raised paving stone, photos can and will assist in you providing evidence supporting your claim. If there are witnesses near who saw your accident, their account can also help your Lawyers with your claim.

Medical evidence: Some injuries are minor and go away whilst others can be more severe and lasting. If you have suffered a fall or slip and trip accident it is advisable to inform your doctor about it. Some symptoms and injuries may not be immediately evident. Some might have a delayed effect which could lead to other symptoms in the future. It helps to take photos of injuries, splits and bruises and also to keep a record of how these injuries affect your everyday life and work.

How do I make a claim for a fall injury?

To make a claim it is important to first establish who is responsible for your injury. Is the property responsibility of a council, a business or an individual? In cases of shopping centres, restaurants and public places it is easy to determine who is responsible for cleaning and maintenance. Outside, you may need to ask the local authority and it is usually not difficult to establish ownership.

Once you have determined who is responsible for maintaining the area, it is important to report the incident to them. Then it is important to gather any evidence such as pictures and witnesses. You should then inform your doctor of the incident and seek any medical assistance should you require it.

Once you have full knowledge of your injuries you should seek advice of a legally trained professional such as ourselves. Not everyone is legally minded and sometimes people suffer without knowing their rights.

I want to make a claim but I am worried about costs?

It does not hurt to speak to a solicitor who would be able to assist with your queries, worries and concerns and bring forward a claim should you choose to do so. We offer a free, independent advice to our clients on their initial queries in the merits of their claims. We also work on a No Win No Fee conditional fee agreement basis which means you do not have to pay anything out of your own pocket in bringing forward a claim. If your claim has merit we will take it on for you, and get paid only if we are successful in your claim, and this will come from the other side as a part of the settlement. We don’t just get you monetary compensation, we also assist with rehabilitation such as getting you physiotherapy on a private basis so you can get on with what is important as soon as possible.

Source: https://www.hse.gov.uk/slips/statistics.htm

Stevenage Illegal Street Race Compensation Claims

Across the UK the public have been waking up to the horrible scenes that unfolded in Stevenage, Hetfordshire. A crash is thought to have injured 17 bystanders after illegally racing at a car meet.

Hertfordshire police said some of those being treated are seriously injured.

Footage from the incident appears to show the two vehicles colliding at high speed before careering into bystanders.

One car is seen turning in from a side road into the path of a faster moving vehicle. The collision causes both cars to veer off in opposite directions, into the bystanders lining the side of the road and central reservation.

An air ambulance attended the crash and emergency services are expected to remain at the scene for some time.

At Injury Lawyers UK we’re experts in dealing with compensation claims for those who’ve suffered injuries in accidents.

If you, or a loved one has been injured we are here to help you get the compensation you deserve. All claims will be handled on a no win, no fee basis meaning you won’t have to pay a penny.

Get in touch with Injury Lawyers UK using the form below.

‘I Still Get Flashbacks’ – How childhood abuse causes a lifetime of pain

The Truth Project has spoken to hundreds of survivors of childhood sexual abuse and compared the experiences of those who were subject to abuse in religious settings with those who were not.

Some victims felt shame and embarrassment which was associated with the abuse, and were less likely to tell someone while it was still going on.

More than two-thirds of victims of abuse in religious settings did not report it at the time, while about half (54%) of those abused in non-religious settings did report it while it was going on.

Nearly half of the victims knew someone else who was also being abused.

Injury Lawyers UK looks at some of the report’s most harrowing accounts. Some of the names and identifying details have been changed.

Angharad is 43, and lives in Dorset. She is a mother with four children

“I don’t know how to begin with my family, and my childhood. I was my mum’s sixth child, my siblings were cruel to me, and I was cut off from my dad.

“My abuser was a chaplain. He was a family friend, and his wife was a primary school teacher. He has three children, and the eldest was like a sister to me. At first, I felt happier going to their house than I was with my own family. I used to play there every day, and go on holiday with them.

“The abuse went on from the age of six to 12 or 13. He was a dominant person, a bully. My dad wasn’t around, so I didn’t know if what he was doing was normal. He was a vile pig. He never actually raped me – he’d make me masturbate him, and then would take my knickers off and watch me go to the toilet and made sure I’d wipe myself.

“I still get flashbacks. Even though he was a chaplain, he had a foul mouth. When people swear heavily, or break wind, it can bring back horrendous memories.

“He could be controlling, especially at dinner times. I’m 43 now and I still do things to spite him, like using the same knife to butter my toast and then putting it in the jam jar.

“I was a bridesmaid to his daughter. At the wedding, he brought up photos of me when I was a child, and he said to everyone, ‘look at her lovely legs, look at her lovely hair, everyone look how lovely she was’.

“At this moment, one of the other bridesmaids turned to me, and asked if he used to do things to me. She got in touch years later. He was going to trial for abusing another girl. I was shocked, I thought it was just me that he’d abused.

“In January 2013, when he was on trial, his family got in touch to ask if I could act as a character witness and provide a reference for him. I said no and began my own proceedings.

“He was already in jail when I bought my charges forward. The case was successful, and he was sentenced to four counts of fifteen months for raping a child.

“The abuse has impacted all aspects of my life. I didn’t like going to school, I’ve been bullied, became homeless, felt victimised and fallen into abusive relationships. “I tried to complete sixth form. I became a jack of all trades – and had multiple day jobs. My youngest is one now so I’m not working.

“My daughter is 11 and she is so beautiful. I feel disgusted that anyone could want to do something like that to her.”

If you’re a survivor of child sexual abuse Injury Lawyers UK can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve. Our expert solicitors have over 20 years’ experience in dealing with abuse claims, call us on 0800 1123 156

:: Survivors of child sexual abuse who would like to share their experiences and put forward recommendations for change can get in touch with the Inquiry’s Truth Project. Visit www.truthproject.org.uk or emailshare@iicsa.org.uk

Dentality @ Hoddesdon HIV Fear Claims

More than 560 patients of the Dentality @ Hoddesdon have received letters explaining that due to the failing of a hygienist who failed to sterilise a scaler they could’ve contracted a range of infections including HIV.

Patients have only been informed of the risk to their health three months after health officials were informed by the dental practice.

At Injury Lawyers UK we’re currently handling a number of claims for those affected by this scandal. If you’re one of those affected we urge you to get in touch with us immediately.

Regardless of whether an infection has been caused a claim for professional negligence will be possible. If successful you are likely to receive in excess of £1000.

Get in touch with Injury Lawyers UK using the form below.

Dentality @ Hoddesdon HIV Fear Claims

More than 560 patients of the Dentality @ Hoddesdon have received letters explaining that due to the failing of a hygienist who failed to sterilise a scaler they could’ve contracted a range of infections including HIV.

Patients have only been informed of the risk to their health three months after health officials were informed by the dental practice.

At Injury Lawyers UK we’re currently handling a number of claims for those affected by this scandal. If you’re one of those affected we urge you to get in touch with us immediately.

Regardless of whether an infection has been caused a claim for professional negligence will be possible.

Get in touch with Injury Lawyers UK using the form below.