Below are some examples of the types of cases we deal with on a regular basis. Names have been changed for confidentiality reasons.
If your child is facing an allegation, or if you are concerned about their behaviour, the first step is to contact us. All enquiries are treated in the strictest of confidence.
Call Matthew Graham on 01225 976113, email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the enquiry form at the bottom of this page.
View Teenagers sharing photos of each other
Ben had recently turned 15. There had been a small problem a couple of years before at the school with him taking pictures of girls, but he seemed to have grown up and moved on. Then there was a call from the school. Could I come in for a ‘chat’. A 14-year-old girl had told her teacher that she and Ben had exchanged pictures of their ‘private parts’. He would have to be suspended whilst there was an investigation. The school had to tell the police. Panic.
Ben’s mother, Mrs P, came to us not knowing what to do. Were the police involved? What would happen to Ben? Would he get a criminal record? How could they get Ben back into education? It turned out Ben had been having similar exchanges on social media with various girls at the school. Nothing had been shared more widely, though there was some bragging.
Mrs P was in our office the following day. We quickly established the police were involved and that there would be an interview. We made arrangements for a voluntary interview and in advance drafted full written legal argument about the how the case should be resolved, without Ben getting a criminal record. The police wanted to caution Ben, but we eventually persuaded them to apply outcome 31 (no criminal record) which meant Ben volunteering to undertake an educational program with the local education officer.
He went back to school, finished his exams and learnt some valuable lessons about online safety.
View Social media & sexting
Stephen was 14, and had boasted to his friend over social media about sexual activity with a 13-year-old girl. The text conversation was somewhat gratuitous, and had been shared by someone who had taken the friend’s phone without permission. Suddenly it was around the school. This all came out on a Friday afternoon, as I was travelling back from London. Stephen was such a young 14-year-old, still wonderfully childish. You read about these things, but I just couldn’t believe it was happening to me. A friend recommended I contact Matthew Graham.
Ms S contacted us on a Friday evening. Her son had told what had happened, and she had spoken to the parents of the girl. She had also spoken to the other boy’s family. It didn’t seem anyone wanted the police involved, but how the school would react was another matter.
Over the weekend we arranged for both Stephen and his friend to see, on that Sunday, an educational psychologist, with a view to articulating that this episode was properly described as normal development and consensual experimentation, and that the subsequent social media chat was an immature but private exchange that had been stolen and shared.
On the Monday the school conducted an investigation, concluding the same day in agreement with the educational psychologist that both boys were able to return to school with some appropriate extra work to do relating to healthy and respectful relationships. By the Tuesday the whole matter was concluded.
View Teenager accused of rape
It was only meant to be a gathering of families. We all had kids the same age. The adults all had a drink and played games, the kids amused themselves. We all seemed to have a nice time, until several weeks later the 14-year-old daughter claimed she had been raped. It felt like our world was collapsing - this sort of thing doesn’t happen to us - as it became clear that she was saying our 15-year-old son was the perpetrator. It hadn’t been reported to the police, but what should we do?
Mr and Mrs J came to see us and following an initial strategy conference we set about compiling the same evidence that we would have done had this been a formal criminal investigation. We obtained statements from witnesses, other photographic evidence, social media screenshots and had a mobile phone forensically examined to retrieve otherwise lost messaging.
We obtained a detailed account from the son in a recorded interview, to ensure that we had captured every aspect of his own narrative of events. If the police were going to become involved, we were determined to be ready. Investigations uncovered other material capable of undermining her credibility, including her giving inconsistent accounts.
The police never did call. At least not yet. But that family know that if in a month, a year or a decade she comes forward and complains that she was raped, we have every bit of evidence that could ever have been available retained and collated, ready to deploy. Some things are too important to leave to chance.