Dewsbury solicitor wins national prize for work with child sex abuse victims

NATIONAL STANDARD: Thornhill-born solicitor David Greenwood, who represents victims of child sex abuse, has been named claimant personal injury lawyer of the year. (d545a247)

NATIONAL STANDARD: Thornhill-born solicitor David Greenwood, who represents victims of child sex abuse, has been named claimant personal injury lawyer of the year. (d545a247)

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A SOLICITOR who works on some of the most harrowing cases any court hears has won a major award.

And last week David Greenwood won a landmark ruling to help ensure organisations can be held to account when child abuse happens on their watch.

Mr Greenwood, who works at Jordan’s Solicitors in Dewsbury town centre, specialises in representing victims of child sex abuse.

He was named claimant personal injury lawyer of the year at the Eclipse Proclaim Personal Injury Awards earlier this month.

“This award means that the team here and I have achieved some national recognition for the work that we are doing,” he said.

“We will try to use it as a positive feature, to enable claimants to come forward and have some trust in the department, if they do want to come forward.”

Mr Greenwood, who grew up in Thornhill, has been representing victims of child sex abuse since 1998, when he started looking into allegations made against children’s home staff.

“Since then, through word of mouth, experience and other lawyers in the field, we have become known as one of the leading teams of child abuse lawyers in the country,” he said.

His reputation has earned him slots on television and radio to discuss cases that have hit the national headlines – most recently, the allegations against broadcaster Jimmy Saville.

“With the Jimmy Saville allegations coming forward, it has focussed the media’s attention on these issues,” Mr Greenwood said.

“It will hopefully enable other potential claimants to come forward and speak about their experiences and if they are treated well by the police, the courts system and the people treating them, they can have an improved quality of life.”

Mr Greenwood has always fought to make it easier for victims of child abuse to see their abusers brought to justice and in 2008 he secured a landmark ruling from the House of Lords which meant there could no longer be a limit on the amount of time it takes for a victim of child abuse to make their claim.

Before that, victims had to make their claims within three years of the abuse.

Last Wednesday, another significant ruling which Mr Greenwood has fought for came from the Supreme Court. It will mean that from now on, organisations can be held liable for the abuse of children in their care if their work creates a risk of abuse occurring

Mr Greenwood, 42, said: “I just hope that the Jimmy Saville phenomenon will enable other people to come forward and realise that they can get help.”