Dealing with historical sex abuse

David Smellie and Jane Foster (Farrer & Co)

Heads are familiar with the issue of historical abuse claims, the sensitivity of dealing with survivors of abuse and the reputational issues which arise. This session is not about that. It will focus instead on the practical steps to take from the point at which an allegation is made including:

  • how to field the initial contact
  • who to notify and in what order (e.g. LADO, Police, Charity Commission, IICSA, ISI, HMC, BSA etc)
  • how to address any risks which may be posed to today’s pupils (e.g. because the individual is still employed, the building is still in use or the practice is continuing)
  • upwards management of governors – how should trustees respond
  • addressing cultural issues which may be on-going (e.g. unclear boundaries or reticence to report)
  • understanding criminal and civil litigation processes and identifying do’s and don’ts.

The session will be run by David Smellie, Head of Farrer & Co’s Child Protection Unit and Jane Foster who is a member of that team. Jane Foster was, until recently, the LADO for the largest local authority in London and will bring her LADO’s perspective to bear.

David Smellie - photo cropDavid leads Farrer & Co's Child Protection Unit and (until recently) Schools Group. He has been heavily involved in advising clients on child protection matters over the last 15 years and, as such, he has witnessed the positive impact of regulatory change over the period. David led the Farrer & Co team which acted as Solicitors to the Independent Review by Hugh Davies QC into the criminal conduct of William Vahey in 2014. David has also acted as child protection governor at three schools, and is recognised at the UK's top-ranked schools lawyer in Chambers UK.


Jane Foster - photo cropJane was, until July 2016, the Tri-Borough (Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and City of Westminster) Safe Organisations Manager and Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO). As Tri-Borough LADO and co-ordinator of the Pan-London LADO network, Jane played a key role in keeping many of London's children safe and is a well-known figure to many private, public and third sector organisations working with children, including state and independent schools. Jane has considerable experience in delivering training to professionals working with children, having designed and delivered safeguarding training for Local Children Safeguarding Boards in both England and Wales; she is also an accredited Safer Recruitment trainer. Furthermore, Jane has been a panel member on a serious Case Review.

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