Any form of child abuse is a horrible crime that can cause significant physical and mental harm that sticks with the child for the rest of their life. If you decide that you want to claim compensation for the abuse against you when you were a child, you have a couple of options: a civil claim against your abuser or to seek child abuse compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). Our guide on child abuse compensation claims will explain the options you have available to you have decided to take action.
Our specialist advisors are on hand if you would like to speak to them about claiming. They’ll handle your claim in complete confidence to try and establish the best way for you to proceed. If we can help, one of our child abuse solicitors will manage your claim for you on a No Win, No Fee basis. That means they’ll be able to work with being paid upfront and you’ll only pay legal fees if you’re compensated.
Please call us on 0800 652 1345 for free legal advice or continue reading to find out more about how we can help.
Types of child abuse you could claim compensation for
Unfortunately, there are many types of child abuse that you may wish to claim compensation for. They include but are not limited to:
- Physical child abuse. Where a child is struck, beaten or has objects thrown at them.
- Child neglect. Where the child’s abuser (usually a parent or guardian in this scenario) fails to fulfil a child’s basic needs. This can include a failure to feed the child, leaving them unsupervised, not providing a clean and safe home or failing to take them to see a doctor when ill.
- Child sexual abuse. This can involve any form of sexual activity with a child. Sexual abuse doesn’t just involve physical activities, it can indecent exposure, forcing a child to watch sexual activity and child grooming.
- Emotional child abuse. Any form of shaming, humiliation, scaring a child or ignoring a child could all be forms of emotional abuse that could lead to a compensation claim.
- Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). FGM is an extremely painful form of child abuse that will have lifelong consequences.
It is important to point out that our solicitors could help you claim for any type of child abuse including historical abuse. If you’re a parent whose child has been abused, we could help you to claim compensation on their behalf to try and secure the compensation that they deserve.
What to do if you suspect a child is being abused
According to the NSPCC, you should call 999 if you believe a child is in immediate danger. Additionally, if you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, you could:
- Talk to the child regularly. They might decide to come to you when they’re ready to discuss what’s happening.
- Write things down. Keeping a diary can help to spot behavioural patterns.
- Speak to their teacher and others. Those who see the child regularly may also have spotted signs of abuse.
- Contact the NSPCC. You can discuss your concerns anonymously with specially trained counsellors.
How to make a child abuse compensation claim
If you have decided to claim compensation for child abuse, there are a couple of options available. You could make a civil claim against your abuser through the courts or you could claim compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). In our opinion, the latter is usually preferable as many abusers don’t have the means to compensate their victims.
Importantly, many people prefer to claim through the CICA scheme because your abuser does not have to have been convicted of abusing you. That’s because, for CICA claims, your case is assessed on the balance of probabilities meaning that so long as the CICA officer believes the abuse took place, the claim could be found in your favour without a court hearing.
If you make a civil claim, the abuser must have been tried in court and found guilty of abusing you before the court will be able to award compensation.
Who are the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority?
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority or CICA is a government agency that can provide compensation to victims of crime. CICA is responsible for managing claims against the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. The scheme is funded by the government each year.
Child abuse claims are possible against the CICA scheme to cover both recent and historical abuse.
What are the eligibility criteria for child abuse claims?
The CICA scheme has some criteria which need to be met before you can make a child abuse claim. Some of the most important are:
- The abuse must’ve happened in England, Scotland or Wales.
- You begin your claim within 2 years of the abuse or within 2 years of the date you reported historical abuse to the police.
- You must cooperate with the police during their investigation.
- Any physical or psychological injuries you’re claiming compensation for can be confirmed by a medical professional.
If you believe that you are entitled to child abuse compensation, please feel free to speak to a member of our team. Your call will be handled compassionately and at a speed that suits you. Wherever possible, we’ll ask one of our solicitors to represent you on a No Win, No Fee basis so you won’t be asked to pay legal fees upfront.
Who are child abuse claims commonly made against?
The CICA scheme could award compensation if you were abused as a child. It does not matter who caused you to suffer as long as you’ve told the police about the crime. Unfortunately, most abused children know or live with their abuser. That said, you could claim for child abuse carried out by:
- Parents and step-parents.
- Foster parents.
- The abused sibling.
Remember, whoever you were abused by, you could be compensated even if your abuser was never charged by the police or found guilty in court. The person handling your claim within CICA will liaise with the police to discuss their investigation but your claim could be successful even if the police took no further action.
How do I claim child abuse compensation for my child?
Legally, children cannot take legal action while they are under 18 years old. However, a compensation payout before then might help to cover the cost of counselling or other measures to help your child.
However, parents and guardians can manage a child abuse claim on behalf of their child by becoming their litigation friend. You’ll need to be approved by a court before that can happen but, once the paperwork is signed, you’ll be able to instruct a solicitor on your child’s behalf.
If you make a successful claim and compensation is awarded, the funds will be held in a court trust account until your child’s 18th birthday. As their litigation friend, you’ll be able to ask for payments to be released as and when they are needed to help your child.
If you’d like to help your child claim compensation for child abuse, please speak to one of our specialists today.
How much compensation for child abuse?
The CICA scheme works slightly differently from other types of personal injury claims and settlements are based on the scheme’s own criteria. If you make a successful child abuse claim through the CICA, it could award compensation to cover:
- Your physical pain and suffering.
- Any psychological harm.
- Loss of earnings if your criminal injuries (psychological or physical) mean you have limited or no capacity to work.
- Healthcare costs.
- Special equipment such as physical aids including adapted vehicles, walking aids, wheelchairs and other devices.
- Home adaptations to help you cope with any long-term or permanent disabilities.
- Some care costs.
- Financial support to manage your affairs if your criminal injuries mean you lack the mental capacity to do so yourself.
Aside from your physical and psychological injuries, any special expenses awarded in child abuse claims must be linked directly to your injuries, not available from other sources (the NHS for example) and at a reasonable cost. Our solicitors understand what you can and cannot claim from the CICA scheme. As such, they’ll always try to make sure that you receive the maximum level of compensation possible.
If you’d like to check what compensation you might be entitled to claim, please speak with a member of our team today.
Providing proof for child abuse compensation claims
In general, CICA officers will use information from the police when assessing a child abuse compensation claim. Other proof they’ll use to determine whether you should be compensated may include:
- Medical records from your GP.
- A psychiatrist’s report if you’re claiming for mental health issues.
- Financial records if you’re claiming for any expenses or loss of income caused as a result of your injuries.
If you work with one of our solicitors, they’ll supply the CICA with any available proof they request and manage everything on your behalf.
No Win, No Fee claims
Child abuse solicitors know that making a claim will be hard enough without the added worry about paying legal fees for their services. That’s why all child abuse compensation claims that are taken on by the solicitors on our panel are managed on a No Win, No Fee basis. While that doesn’t make the claims process any easier for you, it should reduce your stress levels a little.
At the start of the child abuse claims process, your solicitor will explain the work they’ll do for you. This will include:
- Liaising with you to get the information required to start a CICA claim.
- Collecting proof that could be used to support the claim.
- Filing the necessary paperwork with the CICA.
- Answering any queries raised on your behalf.
- Keeping you informed about how your claim is progressing.
- Discussing any settlement offers you receive.
We’re here to answer any questions you may have and can check whether you’ll be able to start a child abuse claim on a No Win, No Fee basis so please get in touch.
Child abuse claims time limits
The CICA criteria state that claims have a 2-year time limit from the date a crime was committed against you. However, in exceptional circumstances, this date can be extended. For child abuse claims, the CICA is more likely to begin the time limit from the date you reported the crime to the police as they are aware that many child abuse victims aren’t able to talk about what happened until later on in life.
If it’s less than 2 years since you went to the police about what happened, we could help you claim compensation from the CICA. They aim to have settled most claims within 12 months but this can happen faster or take longer in some cases.
If you do work with a solicitor from our panel they’ll manage the whole process for you so you won’t have any interaction with the CICA. Your solicitor will keep you up to date and discuss any compensation offers with you.
Start a child abuse compensation claim today
We can help if you would like to discuss making a child abuse claim. You can call us in total confidence on 0800 652 1345 to speak with a specially trained advisor. We won’t pressure you into starting a claim with one of our specialist solicitors but we will offer free advice when discussing your claim with you.
If your claim is taken on, it will be managed by a No Win, No Fee solicitor so you won’t need to pay them upfront and you won’t pay legal fees if you’re not compensated.
If you’d rather discuss your claim online, our live chat advisors can also help with child abuse compensation claims.