We live in an era where those who have suffered sexual abuse are rightly encouraged to come forward and make formal complaints. As a consequence, the path to claiming compensation for sexual abuse is now more defined. There are also numerous personal injury solicitors (including those on our panel) who can assist with putting together often challenging evidence to formulate a case for compensation. While no amount of money will put right what happened, any damages you’re paid could help you to try to move forward with your life.
Before we take a look at the various aspects to take into consideration when pursuing sexual abuse compensation, it is worth reminding ourselves of the definition of sexual abuse.
Defining sexual abuse
When looking to pursue a criminal prosecution or seek compensation for sexual abuse, there needs to be a legal definition of sexual abuse. In simple terms, this type of abuse is defined as any unwanted sexual act/activity where there is no consent or it is forced upon another person. This definition can be further broken down into specific actions which include:
- Online grooming.
- Sexual activity.
- Sexual exploitation.
- Sexual harassment.
- Female genital mutilation (FGM).
While activities such as FGM were previously seen as “cultural” they are now clearly defined under UK law. It is no longer possible to hide behind any cultural activities which are unlawful.
Can I claim compensation for sexual abuse?
It is important to note that any type of sexual abuse is wrong and illegal. If you have faced any type of abuse, you are not to blame and you have the right to consider making a compensation claim. Some examples of the types of sexual abuse that could lead to a compensation payment include:
- Rape i.e. non-consensual sex (including stealthing).
- Sexual assault including non-consensual sexual touching, groping or kissing.
- Assault by penetration.
- Sexual harassment including sexual gestures, unwanted sexual advances and unwanted ‘sext’ messages or cyber flashing.
- Flashing and indecent exposure.
- Child sexual abuse.
- Being forced to watch or participate in pornography.
These are just some forms of sexual abuse that could allow you to claim compensation. Don’t worry if we’ve not listed something that’s happened to you here, we can still help. Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss an abuse claim based on contact or non-contact sexual abuse.
Examples of sexual abuse compensation claims
Unfortunately, sexual abuse is often carried out by people who know their victims or have some sort of perceived power over them. Some of the most common sexual abuse claims solicitors deal with include:
- Sexual abuse by managers.
- Sexual abuse by strangers.
- Sexual abuse by colleagues.
- Sexual abuse by family members.
It is worth noting that claimants can pursue those who carried out the abuse AND/OR those who failed to protect them. This could take in an array of third parties such as:-
- Education facilities/public services.
- Social services.
- Religious organisations.
In order to pursue third parties such as employers, local authorities, etc there will need to be sufficient proof to show that they failed to fulfil their legal obligations. For example, employers are responsible for the health and well-being of their employees and social services for the protection of at-risk individuals.
How do sexual abuse compensation claims work?
Any victim of sexual abuse has a couple of options when it comes to claiming compensation for their suffering. The first option would be to file a civil claim against the perpetrator. This doesn’t happen often because it does require everything to be heard in court and the defendant also needs to have the means to compensate you if the court finds them guilty.
For that reason, in this guide, we’ll concentrate on sexual abuse compensation claims through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). This type of claim won’t require a court hearing and could result in compensation being paid by this government scheme.
CICA sexual abuse claims can compensate you for any physical injuries you sustained as a result of the abuse against you. In the same way, you could be compensated for any psychiatric damage you’ve endured.
An important point to note is that CICA sexual abuse claims could lead to compensation even if the perpetrator was never prosecuted or if they died since abusing you.
Who are the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority?
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority is a government body that manages a compensation scheme for innocent victims of violent crimes. Staff at the CICA use eligibility criteria to assess claims and award compensation based on the scheme’s tariff of injuries.
You may be entitled to compensation from the CICA for any type of sexual abuse including historical abuse claims. Although claiming through the CICA is not the same as a typical personal injury claim, criminal injury claims are something our solicitors can help with.
Something to bear in mind is that the perpetrator of your crime is not on trial during a CICA claim. That means your solicitor won’t need to prove that they were guilty of injuring you as they would in a criminal prosecution. That’s because rather than proving their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the CICA bases its decisions on the balance of probabilities. As such, you could claim if the criminal was never identified, charged or found guilty in court.
What criteria do I need to meet to make a CICA claim?
Some of the key eligibility criteria that a claim should generally meet before it will be accepted by the CICA include:
- The sexual abuse you suffered must’ve taken place in England, Wales or Scotland (and some other ‘relevant’ places).
- The crime must have been reported to the police.
- You must begin the claim within 2 years of informing the police.
- You must cooperate with the CICA and the police where necessary.
- Any injuries (whether physical or psychological) must be backed up by medical records.
To see if a solicitor from our panel could help you to claim through the CICA scheme, please call today. An advisor will answer any questions you have without putting any pressure on you to start a claim.
Lodging a sexual abuse claim on behalf of someone else
The law recognises that there are times when a claimant in a compensation claim cannot represent themselves and may need support. In the UK, the litigation friend process has been implemented to help in these situations. A litigation friend could manage the claims process on behalf of:
- A child under 18 years of age; or
- An adult that doesn’t have the mental capacity to take on legal responsibilities.
If you’re approved as a litigation friend in a sexual abuse claim, you’ll be granted permission to make decisions on behalf of the claimant. To ensure any settlement offer is fair, a court will review it before you can finalise the claim. Any compensation will be held in trust by the court until the claimant’s 18th birthday or until they regain their mental capacity.
To help somebody else claim compensation for sexual abuse, please speak to our team today.
What could I be compensated for?
If you are awarded compensation by the CICA because you were sexually abused, it could cover:
- Pain and suffering caused by physical injuries.
- Psychological injuries.
- Some loss of earnings if you’re unable to work because of physical or psychological injuries.
- The cost of medical treatment.
- The cost of some care requirements.
- Special equipment and home adaptations that make it easier to cope with ongoing physical injuries.
Importantly, you cannot claim expenses in your CICA claim if they can be covered by other schemes such as the NHS or the benefits system. All special expense claims must be reasonable and necessary.
No matter who you were sexually abused by, a solicitor on our panel could help you to claim the compensation that could help towards your recovery. If you have any questions or would like to find out more about your options, please call today.
Mental health effects from sexual abuse
It is possible that any compensation you receive will help you to deal with any mental health issues. These can affect you well after any physical injuries have healed. As such, your solicitor will try to find out exactly how you’ve been affected and could claim for:
- Sleep problems.
- Self-harm and suicidal thoughts.
- Drug or alcohol abuse.
- Dealing with feelings of shame and guilt.
- Problems maintaining relationships (friends, family, partners etc).
These symptoms will need to be verified independently before the CICA will award compensation. For this reason, your solicitor may request copies of any records from a psychologist if you’ve already met with one. Additionally, they may arrange a meeting with a local psychologist if necessary.
Providing proof for a sexual abuse compensation claim
As mentioned earlier, all sexual abuse compensation claims made through the CICA must have been reported to the police. As such, your CICA officer will request copies of the police investigation and this will form a large part of the proof to support your claim. The officer may ask for further information as well such as:
- A copy of any GP or hospital records if you were treated for any physical injuries.
- A psychiatric report if you wish to claim for any mental health effects relating to your abuse.
- Financial records to support any claim for expenses or costs you’ve incurred.
If a personal injury solicitor on our panel agrees to represent you, they’ll collect as much information as is needed to try and make sure that you receive a fair amount of compensation for your suffering caused by sexual abuse.
No Win, No Fee claims
We realise that taking on a sexual abuse compensation claim will be hard enough without worrying about how much it’ll cost to hire a solicitor. For that reason, our panel of specialist solicitors will always work on a No Win, No Fee basis for any sexual abuse claim they work on.
If you decide that you do want to proceed, your solicitor will draft a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) and send it to you. This will make it clear that:
- Your solicitor will work on your sexual abuse claim without being paid upfront.
- Your solicitor won’t be paid for their time if the claim fails.
- A success fee of up to 25 per cent will be deducted from any settlement you receive if the claim is won.
The percentage you’ll pay as a success fee if your claim is won will be clearly stated in your CFA.
Once you’ve signed your No Win, No Fee agreement, your solicitor’s main goals will be to:
- Start to prepare the CICA paperwork.
- Collect medical records and other proof needed by the CICA.
- File the claim and liaise with your CICA officer so you won’t need to talk to them directly.
- Answer any questions you might have during the claims process.
- Send updates regularly so that you know how your claim is progressing.
- Discuss any settlement offer that’s received with you.
To see if we could help you to claim sexual abuse compensation on a No Win, No Fee basis, please call today.
Sexual abuse compensation claim time limits
The criteria for sexual abuse claims through the CICA state that there is a 2-year time limit. However, in exceptional circumstances, this can be extended. Generally, in historical sexual abuse claims, the CICA can be flexible and start the 2-year time limit from the date you reported the crime rather than when it occurred.
In cases involving children, the 2-year limitation period does not start until the victim turns 18 years old. However, a parent can start a claim on their child’s behalf before then.
In our experience, the sooner you start a claim, the easier it will be for your solicitor to collect proof before the limitation period expires. The CICA aims to close all claims within 12 months or so. In some cases, compensation can be awarded sooner whilst more complex cases can take a little longer.
Start a sexual abuse compensation claim today
Our team of friendly advisors are on hand if you’d like to find out about claiming compensation after being sexually abused. To find out more about your options, please call us on 0800 652 1345. We won’t put any pressure on you and there’s no obligation to begin a claim.
We’ll simply provide free legal advice about how you might want to proceed and then connect you with a solicitor from our panel if you’d like to continue further.
If there’s anything else you’d like to know about sexual abuse compensation claims, please phone us, arrange a consultation here or connect to our free live chat service.