Complaints and Regulatory Processes

When a person decides to approach us about a potential therapy or adult abuse claim, often they will have already been through a complaints and/or regulatory process.

Complaints and regulatory processes (especially the outcomes) are different from civil claims.

It is not a legal obligation for some professionals, including most psychotherapists and counsellors, to be part of a membership organisation and you may find that the professional is one without such status.

However, if the professional is a private practitioner and is a member of such an organisation a complaint can be made to the professional’s regulatory body or membership organisation.

If the professional is employed, for example by the NHS, a private service or charity, a complaint regarding a breach of appropriate boundaries can often be turned by the employer into a disciplinary process against the professional.  However, as with a private professional, a complaint can also be made to the professional’s regulatory body or membership organisation as referred to above.

Criminal proceedings are rare but do occasionally occur.

If you decide to approach us, we discuss these processes with you at the outset of your case.  We have a wide knowledge of these processes and recognise that it is essential for a client to consider whether to go down this route. Clients often have a very understandable desire that what happened to them should never happen again, combined with the fear that other people may suffer if the practitioner is not stopped.

The main regulatory and professional membership organisations are listed below.

Regulatory Bodies

Certain professionals have to be a member of a regulatory body in order to practice. Such professionals are regulated by the following:

  • Doctors (including psychiatrists) – General Medical Council
  • Nurses – Nursing & Midwifery Council
  • Social workers – Health & Care Professions Council
  • Arts therapists – Health & Care Professions Council
  • Occupational therapists – Health & Care Professions Council
  • Practitioner psychologists – Health & Care Professions Council

Membership Organisations

  • UK Council for Psychotherapy
  • British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
  • British Psychological Society

Regulatory bodies and membership organisations have the power to “punish” the practitioner by placing sanctions on them or striking them off their register.  Civil claims are different as they are not there to “punish” the practitioner, rather to enable their patient or client to obtain compensation as a result of the harm that they have suffered.  It is very rare for a complaints process to result in financial compensation.

Have you been affected by adult abuse? Speak to specialist Therapy and Professional Abuse lawyer Victoria Thackstone in confidence by calling 0800 012 9085, or contact us using the form at the bottom of this page.


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