Slaughter and May and GSK’s pro bono collaboration: increasing a charity’s reach to help victims of child abuse

A joint team from Slaughter and May and GSK have collaborated to advise Somerset and Avon Rape Sexual Abuse Support (SARSAS) on a pro bono basis on the receipt of a six-figure donation to fund specialised services to support survivors of child sexual abuse.

The team was able to navigate complex issues around donations from unclaimed client funds in compliance with regulation, as well as advise on structuring and service provision. Ropes & Gray acted on a pro bono basis for The Flying Child CIC, a specialist provider delivering survivor support services. The team acting for SARSAS was led by Antonio Suarez-Martinez, Assistant General Counsel at ViiV Healthcare, Claire Jackson, partner at Slaughter and May and Valerie Kemp, Associate at Slaughter and May.

Paul Tovey, Senior Legal Counsel at GSK UK & Ireland Pharma, says: “It was a great opportunity to work as a combined team with Slaughter and May to use our legal skills to support SARSAS. The real and direct benefit of that legal advice is now coming to fruition and I’m proud of what we achieved together with SARSAS.”

Valerie Kemp says: “Bringing the expertise of SARSAS and GSK to the table, together with our own, meant that we could get the best possible outcome for SARSAS stakeholders. Our legal advice allowed SARSAS to receive the donation which, in turn, allowed vulnerable people to have trauma support. It’s incredibly rewarding.”

Claire Bloor, CEO of SARSAS, says: “Having legal advice from GSK and Slaughter and May meant that we could understand the implications from a governance perspective and ultimately accept the donation. The funds we have generously received will be used to support victims of child sexual abuse in workshops. We’re so pleased we can give funding for this much needed service.”

Sophie Olson, Founder of The Flying Child CIC, says: “Having comprehensive pro bono legal advice from Ropes & Gray was invaluable to help us access the funds donated. The result is that the donation can be used the purpose it was intended, supporting survivors of childhood sexual abuse in a field that is notoriously lacking in funding.”

This pro bono matter is part of a wider collaboration between GSK and Slaughter and May to provide pro bono legal support to charities which have won a GSK IMPACT award. The GSK IMPACT awards allow charities to benefit from funding, training and development and recognise the contributions of charities in improving people’s health and wellbeing. Slaughter and May was delighted to have been able to help SARSAS develop and grow its services in such a significant area.