Tony Slattery was a well known actor and comedian in the 1990s and I remember being impressed with his performances on the improvisation programme ‘Whose Line is It Anyway?’.
The programme, which started in 1988 and continued into the 1990s, featured many noted comedians (including Paul Merton and Stephen Fry) who went on to have successful careers. Tony Slattery seemed to be heading in the same direction.
After successes both on TV and in the theatre he disappeared from the public eye. I was then interested to read an interview with him by Hadley Freeman in the Guardian in April 2019. It was a sad read.
In the interview he referred to his battles with mental health and issues with drugs and alcohol. He referred to something which had happened with a priest when he was eight. He did not give any further details.
I was interested to read a further article in the Guardian this month by Hadley Freeman, who interviewed him again. It was pleasing to see that there had been a positive response to last year’s interview and he had received offers of work including a documentary. Entitled ‘What’s the Matter with Tony Slattery?’, it was shown last night on BBC 2. It was an honest and moving account of his mental health issues.
What stood out to me was an interview with a consultant psychiatrist who talked to him about the incident with the priest. Tony Slattery disclosed that he had been sexually abused but appeared surprised when told of the long term effects such abuse can have.
In the further interview with Hadley Freeman he was keen not be seen as a victim of abuse and gave this as a reason for finding it difficult to talk about it before.
The psychiatrists in the documentary were able to offer hope for the future for him to take steps that he had control over. He could reduce his alcohol consumption and therapy would then be an option. All steps which are positive for anyone who had been abused.
Tony Slattery told Hadley Freeman in the recent interview that he was able to sleep better, had reduced his drinking and was receiving therapy.
It is common for people who have been abused to be described as ‘victims’. However, this can lead to feelings of powerlessness. Disclosure can really help in moving forwards. Therapy can greatly help with understanding the past and dealing with the future.
Help and support is where we as solicitors can assist, in addition to offering legal advice on the options available. This is important in allowing the abused individual to feel that they have control, which they may not have felt they had previously, and in achieving some form of closure.
Communication is crucial and there is always someone to talk to, listen and understand. At Switalskis the team of solicitors have many years of experience in dealing with child abuse claims and all enquiries are handled with the utmost sensitivity.