Defending allegations of injury, abuse or neglect - children

Stephensons are one of the few law firms that have the strength in depth to handle all types of child care cases from the most straightforward to distressing situations involving allegations of child abuse, neglect or injury. Our award winning national team has unrivalled experience in acting for clients ranging from allegations of relatively minor harm to those who have been falsely accused of causing serious injuries.

If you are involved in these types of sensitive cases you not only need a legal representative who has experience in this area of law you also need a team who are compassionate, sympathetic and non-judgmental when listening to your concerns. In complex cases such as allegations of sexual or physical abuse, serious injury or long-term neglect medical evidence may be required.

For a free, no obligation initial chat with one of our legal advisors call us on 0203 816 0548.

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Non-accidental injuries

‘Non-accidental injury’ is a term which covers a wide range of abuse and injuries. The most common types of injuries that our clients are wrongly accused of causing include:

Shaken baby syndrome

Shaken baby syndrome is a form of abuse resulting in serious brain injury which is caused by the violent and forceful shaking of a child. This is a deliberate form of abuse and if you suspect that your child or another child is the victim of shaken baby syndrome it is important that you seek medical attention for them immediately. Some of the symptoms of shaken baby syndrome are similar to those of other conditions such as genetic disorders and bleeding disorders, which can usually be diagnosed or ruled out by a blood test.

Multiple fractures

Unexplained fractures in young children, before walking age, can also lead to allegations of non-accidental injury. Although accidental fractures can occur due to clumsiness on the part of the child’s parents or carers they can also point to bone fragility disorders or abuse. Clinical interviews are often where concern as to whether the fractures are non-accidental first arise.

Brain injury

Head trauma

Eye injury

Skin or soft tissue injury

Child Proceedings Video Panel

  • Child Care Proceedings - Family Law 

    Head of Stephensons family team Mike Devlin and specialist solicitor Jackie Price talk about our experience representing parents, children and other family members on issues relating to children. No matter how difficult or complicated the circumstances, Stephensons’ experienced child care lawyers are committed to securing the best possible outcome for you and your family.
    [youtube url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oI3EitjZneU"]

Proceedings for non-accidental injury cases

These injuries can have a life-long impact on the child in question and so if your child or another child you are concerned about have suffered any of the above injuries, and other conditions have been ruled out, it is important to find out how the injuries were sustained and who, if anyone, is responsible.

A finding of fact hearing will consider if there is any evidence surrounding the allegations of the non-accidental injury. Any person who is at risk of a finding against them must have the opportunity to be a part of the proceedings and be given the chance to make their case. It is vital that they seek legal advice and representation. If a vulnerable adult is at risk of a finding against them they should be provided with help in the form of an intermediary.

To make a care order the court will need to prove that the child suffered either at the hands of their parents or other carers without needing to establish exactly who it was that caused the child harm. In these cases the ‘burden of proof’ falls on whoever has made the allegation of non-accidental injury which is in most cases the local authority. This means that it is the local authority’s responsibility to prove that the alleged perpetrator caused the injury and not the alleged perpetrator’s responsibility to prove that they did not cause the injury.

If evidence does not point to a single individual the court will try to identify a ‘pool of possible perpetrators’. This will allow the court to determine whether the parents or carers for the child were to blame for the injuries or whether the injuries may have occurred at the hands of another group of individuals such as somebody at nursery or school.

If you as a parent, relative or carer of a child who has suffered a non-accidental injury are identified as being in the ‘pool of possible perpetrators’ it can seriously damage your family life, now and in the future in the event that findings are made that you have caused the injuries. It is therefore vital that you seek urgent advice and representation.

We're widely accredited for our work - family law

  • Chambers
  • Legal 500

It is our business to deliver legal services that work for our clients, you can trust our specialists to take care of things on your behalf. Over the years our family law team has been recognised by industry awards and accredited for their excellence.

Memberships & accreditations

Why choose Stephensons?

Stephensons work with specialists who are dedicated to working with parents, relatives, carers and children to obtain the relevant evidence needed to investigate such cases. We offer reassurance to all our clients by clarifying any concerns and explaining our actions every step of the way whilst offering legal support, advice and representation at court.

Our family team includes accredited members of The Law Society’s Children Panel and Resolution. We continue to work hard to protect children at risk of abuse and strengthen families by finding different ways in which we can provide a service to clients who are seeking access to justice.

For a free, no obligation initial chat with one of our legal advisors call us on 0203 816 0548.

Our experience

Recent case study - Baby's injury proven to be accidental: Mrs. H was visiting her family in Manchester for a week. She had her baby, J, aged eight months and her two other children, three and five. She was staying with her mother, grandmother and younger brother. Her two sisters lived close by with their families. Read more

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It is our business to deliver legal services that work for our clients, and you can trust our specialists to take care of things on your behalf.

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The level of service that was provided was excellent and one which was professional, understanding and the most important for me was empathy. I myself am a very organised individual and like things done on time without delay, Stephensons understood this and respected what was important to me and for children.
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Family reorder

  • Victoria Gethin
  • Mike Devlin
  • ​Karen Atkins
  • ​​Gwyneth John
  • Victoria Melling
  • ​Andrew Mountain
  • Amanda Rimmer
  • Donna Roberts
  • Lauren Day
  • ​Tim Galbraith
  • Kath Geere​​
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  • Ceri Thomas
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  • Anna White
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  • Laura Simmons
  • Nicola Clayton
  • Charlotte Ellingham
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  • ​Hanna Fayle
  • Therasa Kenny
  • Claire Pilling

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As an award-winning top 150 law firm, with over 450 staff based in offices across the country, you're never far from the advice you need.

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As an award-winning top 150 law firm, with over 450 staff based in offices across the country, you're never far from the advice you need.