About Ann Olivarius
Dr. Ann Olivarius is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of AO Advocates, a personal injury firm that has won landmark rulings protecting victims of abuse and criminal injury.
She is also the Chair of McAllister Olivarius, one of the leading firms in the US and UK advancing the rights of women, and the founder of consentlawyers.com, an online service that provides victims of image-based abuse (revenge porn) with confidential access to legal aid and advice.
Since moving to the UK in 1999, Ann has used her experience of fighting sexual harassment in the US to become a strong advocate for victims of image-based sexual abuse, privacy violations and child sexual abuse. Her firms have successfully pursued some of the highest-profile abuse cases in recent British legal history, achieving historic settlements for survivors. Many of her clients have been vulnerable individuals who would not otherwise have had access to legal aid, and many of the cases she has successfully pursued have been complex international matters that no other UK firm was willing or able to take on.
Here are just some important examples of Ann’s work, securing justice for her clients and successfully fighting for legal change.
Image-based sexual abuse / “revenge porn”:
- In 2013, Ann was approached by the international YouTube star Chrissy Chambers. Videos of her being sexually assaulted while incapacitated had been circulated on more than 35 porn sites. Although there was no civil or criminal law in the UK against this type of abuse at the time, Ann made a novel argument in a case in the High Court, combining various parts of existing laws. A significant settlement was obtained in Chambers’ favour, and the case received widespread news coverage, bringing this form of abuse to public attention.
- Ann was instrumental in causing the distribution of “revenge porn” to become a criminal offence. Having seen the damage image-based abuse was doing to her clients, she lobbied Parliament to introduce legislation outlawing it, which was enacted under the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.
- In 2019, Ann established consentlawyers.com, a new and innovative legal service to provide victims of online abuse with access to pro bono or low-cost legal advice that they would otherwise be unable to attain, plus resources to help and protect them.
- A teenage girl in America had her intimate pictures distributed to family, friends, and various websites by a British ex-boyfriend, who threatened murder when she took legal advice. After Ann’s involvement and intervention, the perpetrator was arrested, convicted of revenge porn offences and harassment, and sentenced to prison.
Historic sexual abuse
- AO Advocates, co-founded by Ann in 2011, has brought suit against several highly prominent institutions. These have included the Catholic Church, the Church of England, major public schools, St. John’s Ambulance, and care homes. Several have settled for record sums.
- In 2015, AO Advocates successfully brought the first High Court child abuse case against the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the UK. The case led to legal reform that extended the vicarious liability of religious institutions to abuse committed by their low-ranking officials.
- Ann brought suit against a major international corporation following acts of serial sexual abuse against a child by one of its British employees at a Middle Eastern expatriate compound. The victim received an unprecedented seven-figure settlement, and the evidence produced in the case has also allowed a full investigation to go ahead by Scotland Yard that had previously been refused.
- Under Ann’s leadership, AO Advocates has worked in partnership with the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association to represent many victims of historic child abuse in the London Borough of Lambeth. Her work has achieved several of the highest-paying settlements paid under the Scheme, many of which involved settlement for a significantly greater sum than the scheme limit.
Ann is a Fellow of the Association of Professional Injury Lawyers, a member of the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights, and an advisor to the 1752 Group, an organisation lobbying against sexual harassment in higher education. She has served on the boards of Women Moving Millions, the National Alliance for Autism Research (now Autistica), and the Rhodes Project. In her broader legal career, she has served as an advisor to – among many others - Bill Gates, Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton, and Nelson Mandela.
Though based in Maidenhead, Ann’s firms work internationally. She welcomes clients from anywhere in the UK and throughout the English-speaking world.