Brendan Fleming Solicitors are committed to providing justice for parents who have been wrongly accused of causing injuries to their children. To this end, we have created a dedicated Non-Accidental Injury (NIA) Department. Brendan Fleming Solicitors have earned a UK wide reputation as being experts in this specialised field of family law, and deal with all clients in a caring, down to earth and professional manner.
We represent parents who have been wrongly accused of causing injury to their child whether this be in respect of bruising, fractures, injuries to the eyes, head injuries and unexplained infant death just to list a few. We also represent parents when they have been accused of Fabricated or Induced Illness (FII) also sometimes called Munchausen Syndrome. There are also cases that concern alleged poisoning of a child.
Below are the most common types and signs of Non-Accidental Injury
The loss of a child is one of the most devastating things that could happen to a parent. Sometimes a child’s death can be explained by way of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or natural causation. However, there are times when the cause of death is unknown, or the circumstances are suspicious. Some parents find themselves being investigated for causing or allowing the death of their child. If other children are involved children’s services may become involved with those children being removed from the care of the parents whilst the investigations are ongoing, and the cause of death established.
Many people, including children, have Vitamin D deficiencies. When babies are in utero they take a supply of their Vitamin D from their mother. Needless to say there are some theories that if the mother is Vitamin D deficient then the child will be as well upon birth. Similarly, when a child is breast fed from a mother with a deficiency the child would not be having enough of the vitamin. However, each person is individual. We get Vitamin D from food and sunlight. If a child gets Vitamin D then their supply will be restored if it was at some point deficient. There can be difficulties when a child does not have enough Vitamin D.
There are causal links between Vitamin D deficiencies and fractures in young babies. It is thought a deficiency could lead to weaker bones. In severe cases a child may develop Ricketts. This is a difficult illness to detect in young children and it is usually difficult, unless severe, to have radiological evidence of a Vitamin D deficiency and thus biochemical tests may be required. Even if a child has a Vitamin D deficiency it does not necessarily mean that the child would be more susceptible to fractures or that less force would be required. Medical research and knowledge on this issue is advancing.
Alongside Vitamin D deficiencies, there may be deficiencies of Vitamin C (Scurvy), Copper (Menkes Disease) and many other childhood illnesses which all have to be explored by the medical professionals involved in the care of a child.
There may also be haematological abnormalities which may result in a child’s blood not being able to clot properly.
There are many deficiencies that may affect the make up of a child and these all have to be explored and ruled out as a potential cause or contribution to injuries sustained by children.
Mouth injuries are not different to any other injuries that children may sustain. In children they can range from bruising around the mouth, tears in the mouth through to damage to teeth and can indicate physical or sexual abuse and/or neglect, which is why any concerns must be investigation by children’s services. If a child has been forced to consume a hot substance then there may also be evidence of burns.
If your child has sustained an injury to one or more of their teeth, you will be questioned by the dentist examining your child as to how it happened. If they suspect the injury was caused by abuse or neglect, then they have a duty to inform authorities.
Torn frenulums are often thought to be a sign of physical abuse in a child and are uncommonly seen in hospitals. They are checked for as part of medical examinations of the child and often you will see ‘frenulum intact’ in medical records if there is no injury or abnormality. There are 3 frenula’s within the mouth, all of which would be checked for signs of injury. There is one under the tongue, one inside the lower lip and one inside the upper lip. Each are capable of being damaged. As they are relatively protected any sign of injury is usually considered to be suspicious.
Medical professionals are required to look out for signs of abuse when presented with this type of injury because it can be caused by a blow to the mouth or through forcing an object into it.
This is an extremely common area of injury and one that often leads to the involvement of children’s services where they occur in children who are not yet considered to be mobile or when an explanation is not consistent with the injury observed. When a child is non mobile bruising is suspicious as they could not cause the injury to themselves without a carer having observed the cause and also, they do not have the required physical force to cause this to themselves. Therefore, caution calls into question whether they could have been inflicted upon them.
With mobile children the issue is whether the bruises are of a ‘normal’ childhood injury occurring in normal handling and normal play. However, children who present with excessive bruising or unexplained bruising causes concern.
Bruises are observed in a number of way from individual marks to patterns of marks. Some have formed the typical hand/grab mark pattern with the linear distinction of the fingers and ‘classic’ palm-print area. Some present as finger tip bruising. Others may be circular in appearance. Sometimes there are petichae markings which are minute red/ purple spots on the surface of the skin as a result of tiny bleeds of the blood vessels under the skin. Sometimes bruising may be caused through an impact injury with an object whether yielding or unyielding or handling that is considered beyond normal. Bruises come in all shapes and sizes and also colours. This causes concerns from professionals involved with children.
Bruising can occur on all parts of the body, it is not specific. However, there are some areas which are more alerting than others for example, genital bruising, bruising to the pinnae of the ears, the fleshy parts of the cheek, the back, abdomen etc.
It is important when considering bruising to a child whether there may be some underlying reason/ cause which may pre-dispose a child to bruise easier than a normal child. Therefore, clotting tests should be done at the hospital to rule out coagulation disorders. A haematologist may be instructed to assist on such matters to establish if there is any abnormality with the blood.
It is also important to remember that some medical conditions have symptoms associated with easy/ spontaneous bruising such as Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.
There some medical conditions which can mimic bruising such as Acute Haemorrhagic Odema of Infancy and Phytophotodermalitis which can present with bruise like pigmentation of the skin. There are also Mongolian Blue Spots to be considered which are sometimes mistaken for bruising.
EDS, is a genetic connective tissue disorder which may predispose the sufferer to easy bruising and/or easy bleeding. EDS is an inherited condition, usually from a parent or blood relative and is characterised by various physical features of varying severity. There are currently known to be 6 different types of EDS from hypermobility type (EDS-HT) which can be characterised by hypermobile joints, increased skin elasticity and the skin having a silky appearance and feel, to the most severe degree which can cause spontaneous rupturing of the blood vessels and other chronic and potentially life threatening physical manifestations.
In the context of Non-Accidental Injury, EDS can be identified as a contributory factor in some injuries such as bruising and haemorrhaging. EDS is becoming increasingly recognised as a contributory cause in some NAI cases where it is identified through genetic assessment. Where an assessment for EDS is justified, usually through the exploration of family medical histories and the identification of certain medical characteristics which may point towards the presence of this condition, EDS can explain the presence of, for example, bruising or haemorrhaging through apparently minor trauma. Most of the EDS types are incredibly rare and are not usually identified, however EDS-HT (hypermobility type) is becoming more widely recognised as a potential contributor in this field.
Ophthalmological (eye) Injuries can present either individually or alongside other injuries, i.e Non Accidental Head Injury. Injuries may be to one eye or bilateral (both eyes). Of course there are medical conditions which may explain ophthalmological injuries and they will be considered by the medical professionals.
There are various types of ophthalmological injuries including pre-retinal haemorrhages, intra-retinal haemorrhages, sub conjunctival haemorrhages, vitreous haemorrhages, they are all bleeding to the eye just sometimes in different parts. There may be damage to the optic disks there may not. There may be detached retinas. There may be macular folds. If injuries to the eyes are identified then an expert Ophthalmologist is usually appointed to assist with the identification, causation, ageing, mechanism and timing. It is known that sometimes retinal haemorrhages can be caused as part of the birth process.
There are a few reasons why bite marks can cause medical professionals and children’s services to suspect a parent of child abuse. Firstly, outside of main caregivers, it is very difficult for an adult to get close enough to inflict a bite on a child. Secondly, bites inflicted on a child by an adult is usually done in uncontrolled rage. Thirdly, the old adage of , ‘if your child bites you, you must bite them back to teach them it hurts’ is still bandied about in some circles.
Every parent knows that most toddlers go through a biting stage. Children often bite each other in a nursery or school setting. Teachers usually know who the biting children are and also know when a child has fallen victim to this due to seeing the event or hearing a scream as bites usually hurt. It is common sense that a child who inflicts a bite on another child will leave a smaller bite imprint than that of an adult. Sometimes, siblings bite each other at home.
A parent may be accused of biting their child, when in fact; the injury could have been inflicted by a child at school or nursery, or by an older brother or sister.
If you find yourself being accused of causing an injury to your child, please contact one of our specialist team today.
I approached Brendan Fleming because my previous solicitor was losing my case. Brendan kindly took the case on and since that day I have felt like a heavy weight has been lifted from my shoulders. He gave me hope that my children would be returned home and has been nothing but the complete professional. He has travelled from Birmingham to the South Coast to represent us and I totally understand why so many people recommend Brendan Fleming: he truly is one of the nice guys. I would recommend Brendan Fleming to anyone going through the situation that we have. Our whole family are eternally grateful to Brendan, what a guy!!
I just want to say thank you very much for everything you have done for me and my on. And I will definitely contact you again when the time comes. Eva, Smethwick I would like to thank your good self for the good work that you have done over the last few days, as you are the best of the best. I am very lucky to have had someone as good as you. Thank you so much. I will be recommending you to anyone that needs the help that you have given me and my family. To you and Brendan Fleming, thanks again. I know I got the best help from you. I would like to thank everyone that has worked on my kids’ case and for all the good work that you have all put into this case; specifically, Jack, who has done a lot over the last twelve months, both in person and by phone. I know you have done all you could for my family. You will never be forgotten. I would recommend you to anyone. You are the best in Birmingham.
I felt I was in a desperate situation and was really pleased that I was able to be seen straight away. All my questions were answered. I also felt reassured and that I had been given my self-belief back. “The prices at the Brendan Fleming Solicitors are very competitive. Usually solicitors can be quite intimidating but Brendan was very friendly. Craig Brendan Fleming Solicitors is absolutely brilliant, so much better than I could have expected. The support is fantastic, you are always kept informed and you really cannot fault them. Every member of staff gives a fantastic service. I have been thrilled with everyone. I would definitely recommend them. Charlotte I didn’t know what to expect as I have never dealt with a solicitor before. I found the service very professional and polite. Brendan Fleming Solicitors has ticked all the boxes so far.
After an appalling decision by the mediation and being badly let down by the solicitor representing me, I thought everyone was against me. I felt so low. Nobody cared. “Then a friend of mine told me about Brendan Fleming Solicitors, so I made an appointment. At the first point of call I met Brendan: he was very professional, reassuring and confident. He made me feel very welcome. He guided me through the process. First class service. I feel as if I can now move forward with confidence, now knowing, at last, that I have someone to back me up with my case. Thank god. I’ve had the first night’s good sleep in two months. Thanks again.”
Brendan fought extremely hard for my daughter; she would have been very proud of him had she been there in the court room: any child would be proud of they way he fought. Children everywhere should know what he did for my daughter. I had two previous solicitors, neither of whom fought for me; but Brendan did. Firstly, he believed in me when other solicitors didn’t; but secondly, he fought so hard on my behalf. He looked into my case and spotted vital things that the experts had missed. He fought with sheer hard work and determination. I have never seen a better family lawyer in my life and can’t thank him enough. I couldn’t have had anyone better and I would recommend him to every mother. This is more than just a job to him. I can’t get over it. All I can say is that he is an angel from Heaven.
We have been exchanging e-mails with Denise Robertson from TV’s This Morning, who holds Brendan Fleming in the highest esteem. We sent several e-mails telling her of our situation with our 3 children being taken into foster care. She was very supportive & understanding of our circumstances. As a result of Denise’s help, Brendan took on our case at a very late stage, when no other solicitors were willing to proceed with matters further and for that we cannot thank him enough.
I am very pleased with Brendan. He doesn’t fail you at all. You walk out of there more than happy. I am quite a nervous person but, with the way that Brendan is, I always feels so more assured.” Gemma was brilliant as well.
I have had my 5 children removed from me. The day I came to Brendan Flemings for help, I passed out outside the office. I was in a very dark place and felt that suicide was my only answer. Today, because you listened to me, because you believed in me and because you supported me, I am now a far cry from the woman who first walked into your office. I have a positive outlook and I am thinking in terms of ‘when I have my children back. I know I have a fight in front of me but now I know I have someone in my corner who believes in me, which makes all the difference.
I watched the video of Brendan at the Stop Forced Adoption conference and thought ‘I want him to be my solicitor.’ After the appointment with Brendan, I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
More was done in one appointment with Brendan than my previous solicitors did in nine.
After being plunged into what can only be described as the most traumatic situation an innocent mother can experience, I made a call to Brendan Fleming solicitors. It turned out to be the best call I ever made. I was overwhelmed by the kind and friendly attitude of Sue Hayes who handled my call at a most unsociable hour and who gave me very practical advice at a time when I was highly emotional and not thinking straight. She gave me the strength to fight against a very confusing system and to get my daughter home where she belonged. Brendan Flemings were my solicitors from 1987 until 2001 and I couldn’t have wished for a more pro-active, professional team. Brendan himself was so reassuring during what was often a very stressful time of my life. My sincere thanks to him and all of his team. I have children who are, in the main, happy and well-balanced, now with children of their own. I am proud of them all and none of it would have been possible without you. Thank you.
I went to Brendan Fleming on the recommendation of a friend and I wasn’t disappointed in my choice. I met with Annette Woodall and she talked me through all the costs of what a divorce could be which can be a little intimidating at first. Then I left it too her and she done all the work necessary to complete my divorce whilst managing to keep the cost down too less than £900! You hear a lot of stories about high solicitors charges but Annette got me a great result while avoiding to break the bank!
I was recommended to Annette by a family friend who had previously worked alongside her and highly regards her and her work. From the first meeting, I felt extremely comfortable dealing with Annette and appointed her immediately. Her no nonsense, matter of fact and down to earth approach was refreshing as was her wealth of experience. I had previously met a couple of other solicitors to enquire about handling my divorce, but none of them made me feel as at ease as Annette did. Her no nonsense approach was extremely reassuring particularly when I had to deal some demands my ex-husband made after mediation had taken place and the financial arrangement signed. She was able to advise me and reassure me – it was great to have someone who was ‘on my side’.
I feel confident that I will be able to get the result that I want with Jennifer as my solicitor. The case is going well and I am always kept up to date with what’s going on. The advice given is fine.
I am very pleased with the service. I have no complaints. I am very happy with Annette.
I was very pleased with the service I received from both Annette and Brian. They were both efficient and were good at putting me at ease. Brendan was also very efficient and pleasant in his manner.
Annette has helped me in my divorce over a period of one year. She is really professional and I am very confident in her. She is very straightforward in her explanations, always making things clear, even though it is a very complicated divorce. I am given the best advice at all times and I am really happy with her service.
Annette was brilliant, she talked through everything. She said that obviously divorces are very daunting and scary but Annette always talks things through and makes sure that I understood what was happening and has always been amazing throughout the process. I always felt fully updated and loved the fact that anything which didn’t make sense to me or which I didn’t understand was explained.
I was recommended to Annette at Brendan Fleming by a colleague as I was seeking an expert in legal divorce proceedings. Annette and her team provided an excellent service throughout the process. They were always responsive and pro-active but most importantly sensitive to my requirements and very practical and objective in their guidance and support. I would certainly recommend Annette and her firm to anybody seeking a professional and yet personal service.
Annette Woodall proved to be invaluable in my recent family disputes she was experienced , dedicated and understanding, I felt even though she was under pressure from the other side , Annette kept her cool and pressed ahead in a professional and reliable way I would highly recommend Annette’s services to anybody who has had the unfortunate twist of fate and who find themselves needing representation in the Family courts , I can not praise her enough and remain eternally grateful that I was represented by somebody who gets the job done.
I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you Salvia, for all of your efforts. You were very understanding, empathetic and non-judgmental regarding my situation and handled the case very well. I would definitely recommend Brendan Fleming Solicitors to anyone looking to be represented by a high-quality professional service.
I was first attracted to Brendan Fleming by their philosophy of non-confrontation in divorce and a conciliatory approach as described on their website – and goodness knows divorce is a stressful process – so I found this rather appealing. Annette Woodall represented me and I cannot praise her highly enough. She epitomises the Company’s values and I found her to be both rigorous and hardworking in helping achieve a workable and realistic outcome. She was always the consummate professional, exploring all angles and making sure nothing was overlooked and never baulked at going that extra mile. Annette also showed great compassion and humour that helped me retain my sanity in the divorce process. I would not hesitate to recommend Annette as a highly skilled, personable and professional divorce advocate.
I would like to say a big thank you to Brendan Fleming Solicitors and especially Charley Kelly for all the help and support over the last three years. I first contacted Brendan Fleming Solicitors in 2013 when the local authority were seeking removal of our son. Charley Kelly is great, she gave us great support she’s there day and night she has done all the statements attending court always there when we need to ask advice she never judges she tells us the truth she never hides anything she thought for a year with us to get our son home we have now had him home for two years on a care order plus parent reg now the local authority are trying yet again to remove our son and we have yet again turned to Brendan Fleming Solicitors as we know from experience this firm is 100% about keeping children with their families.
Your company has helped me out so much and I’d come back again again and again. I am so grateful to everyone who has helped me out with my case…and I am so glad that Charley Kelly ain`t leaving cuz she is really good at her job
Without your support and fantastic knowledge into the care system etc and doing all the ‘behind the scenes’ work to fight for me and my children I wouldn’t be here in a better place. I’ll always be grateful to you and Mr Pearce.
My husband and I appreciate all the support and hard work very much that both Dawn and Gemma gave us during what has been the most traumatic experience of our lives to date. It will never be forgotten…. Despite never being directly accused of anything ourselves, we have had two of our children removed and in some way still feel as though we are guilty until proven innocent. It has been hard to comprehend. Perhaps I could give credit to your organization for being ‘that listening ear at a time in need,’ being readily available at all hours, going above and beyond the call of duty and supporting us. At times, I’ve been sick of the sound of my own voice; God only knows how Dawn and Gemma must feel. They are a credit to your business, representatives to be proud of and they never fail to impress. A genuine thank you from us both.”
Dawn, I can’t find the words to express how I feel about what you have done for my family. I can’t thank you enough. If only I knew than what I know now: that the most important thing is to have a good solicitor. And you are the best: I never would have got my boys back if it weren’t for you. I have learned so much in the short space of time in which you represented me. Thank you till the end of the numbers.
You have done so much for me and been there whenever I needed to speak. I have included a picture of my daughter which you can keep if you like as reminder of how happy you have made her mummy and how happy I am that I decided to go with your firm. Thank you so much, Dawn. There will never be enough I can do to repay you.
I get on really well with Dawn; she will help me whatever the problem. We meet up every week. Her work is brilliant: I feel so much more support than I did from my previous solicitors. I’d definitely recommend her for employee of the week; she is a great solicitor.
Dawn is absolutely wonderful. I wish we had gone with her from the start. Compared to her, our previous solicitors were ‘professional losers.’ I would definitely support an application for Dawn to be made employee of the week – she deserves it.
Dawn is absolutely fantastic. I would never have got so far without her and now I am really close to getting my daughter back. I would not be where I am now without Dawn and Brendan. Dawn works every hour God sends to help your case. I keep recommending them to other people in my situation. Keep up the good work!
Dawn is truly a wonderful person, she has gone the extra mile for me and my children; she is always at the end of the phone, anytime of day or night; and has worked relentlessly to get my children back home to me. She always made me feel hopeful and is a complete professional and warm human being. Dawn arranged an Independent Social Worker Assessment which was in our favour, for which I cannot thank her enough. I know that it is only due to Dawn and Brendan, along with the work that we have done as a family, that my children are coming home. I am so happy!!
I am so confident in Dawn and Brendan. Every day I speak to them, I believe more and more that, one day soon, my daughter will be back home with me. They are very passionate about their jobs and I would recommend them to anyone as solicitors. I owe them so much already. They are fantastic.
At the appointment excellent advice was given and I am really happy with the service so far. Charlotte is dealing with my case and she is really helpful.
Thank you for believing me, the advice and support you gave me has meant that L-M gets to stay in my care. She means everything to me, you have changed our lives forever.
Thank you for all your help, I kept my son because of you. I will never forget that.
I just wanted to email to say thank you for the support. I have absolutely no doubt that if I had gone to a different firm or had a different solicitor, my child would not have come home to me. I am so grateful that you listened to me. I know there were some difficult conversations but I fully accept that they needed to take place. Your advice was spot on. I cannot recommend you highly enough!! Michaela is and was wonderful. Thank you always and forever.
I could not have done this without Michaela, she has undertaken so much work and progressed this case, it has not only helped me but the children so much, I could not be more happy with how I have been represented. Michaela has always kept me informed and explained the law and the process in a way that I understand. I would have no hesitation in instructing Michaela again in any other family matter and I would highly recommend her and the firm to others. Michaela has gone above and beyond, because of her work the children are now placed in my care.
Michaela Beale is an exceptional solicitor and were a member of my family to require the services of a lawyer in a care case, I would recommend her as a ‘go to’ representative. From the work I have done with her, it is clear that she is consistently practical and proactive. When challenging a local authority in a case, this robust approach is vital in ensuring that the clients position is optimised. Michaela’s judgement in proceedings is unparalleled and she always manages to combine efficient professionalism with a human touch.
My experience of working with Michaela has been absolutely positive. She keeps me up to date and responds quickly to my enquiries and requests. She is easy to work with and very courteous. It great working with her.
Michaela is really great. She is helpful and supportive and was there when I needed her. She did a great job.
Michaela is really good, helpful and very friendly. She has given me an excellent service and I would definitely recommend her to others.
Thanks to you and your team for all of your help: you are the best solicitor I have ever had!
Vicky and Michaela are very good and helpful. They always come back quickly with information I have requested and they are very accommodating to me.
Michaela was brilliant, she was absolutely fantastic and was a good sport who gave 100%. She was very helpful and explained things very well. My son has learning difficulties and Michaela explained things so well to him that he understood everything. She was very helpful and did an excellent job. I would recommend Brendan Fleming Solicitors straight away.
Three years ago I would have never have dreamed that I would have all three children in my care. Michaela did an excellent job and managed to keep the children in my care. My advice is always listen to your solicitor. That’s what I did. 99% of the time Michaela was right; but if she said something that I didn’t agree with, we sat down, got our heads together and came up with a different solution. I have all three children in my care because I listened to my solicitor. I would definitely recommend Brendan Fleming Solicitors as firm; but in particular I would recommend Michaela as a solicitor and Ed Pearce in the Court.
I would like to say a big thank you to Brendan Fleming Solicitors and especially Charley Kelly for all the help and support over the last three years I first contacted Brenden Fleming solicitors in 2013 when the local authority was seeking removal of our son. Charley Kelly is great she gave us great support she’s there day and night she has done all the statements attending court always there when we need to ask advice, she never judges, she tells us the truth she never hides anything. Charley fought for a year with us to get our son home we have now had him home for two years on a care order. Now the local authority are trying yet again to remove our son and we have yet again turned to Brendan Fleming Solicitors as we know from experience this firm is 100% about keeping children with their families.