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Sexual Abuse and Assault Claims - Your Guide to Compensation

Sexual abuse compensation claims advice

If you have been the victim of sexual abuse or a sexual assault either as an adult or a child, you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation under a government scheme.

You can make an application under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) scheme which involves NO court proceedings and is strictly CONFIDENTIAL.

Female abuse solicitor

There are strict rules regarding eligibility and you may wish to obtain legal advice before you apply. We are a regulated claims management company who specialise in abuse related cases. Read our essential abuse claim top tips before you submit your application.

Our compassionate knowledgeable advisors can guide you through the claims process and speak to you in complete confidence. Call us for a no obligation discussion about your potential compensation case, we will confirm your options and discuss your entitlement to make a claim.

Call us to discuss your case today - 01423 593 002 or complete our enquiry form

Choose a section to find out more about your legal rights:

BEWARE - of strict claim deadlines. Get the advice you need before it is too late

What you need to know - updated advice on abuse claims UK

Sexual abuse claim deadlines

Historical abuse criminal cases by their very nature are complex and hugely draining. The last thing a victim might have on their mind will be a compensation claim. However the CICA scheme has a number of key deadlines for certain cases that must be adhered to. To check your deadline and claim eligibility use our time limit calculator below. Generally you will have 2 years from the moment you report the case to the police in order to apply for CICA compensation. It is possible to extend the time limit if you can show that there was a significant reason (for example: ongoing mental health issues) as to why you could not claim sooner. Getting the time limit right can be a complex issue and it is recommended that you seek advice where possible before making your criminal injuries application. Even if you are beyond the deadline it may not be too late to apply.

Do you have to wait for the court case to finish before claiming?

This is probably the most common question that we deal with on our helpline. It is perfectly sensible to assume that the court case or police investigation would need to be finalised before any abuse compensation claim is made. However the problem is that if there is a 2 year window to claim from say the police notification date, this time will soon pass and most cases will take longer than 2 years to actually reach court. Yet on the other hand by claiming prior to the court case or verdict you may have to disclose you are seeking compensation (the police will be aware in any event) and the defence may raise this as a direct question on cross examination. It feels like catch 22 and in many ways it is but each case is different and each applicant must make their own decision on the timing of their CICA claim. The priority for most people is the court verdict and a successful outcome, rightly so. Justice comes first but it also comes in two parts. The second part is your right to be compensated for what you have been through. It is not fair that any delay incurred awaiting the criminal justice system should impact your right to an abuse victim award.

What if the court case is unsuccessful?

There can be no doubt that pursuing a criminal case against a perpetrator of sexual abuse or assault is one of the most difficult experiences imaginable. For some victims this experience can be made significantly worse if an unwanted verdict is returned by the jury. If the offender is found not guilty (in Scotland there is also the issue of "not proven" verdicts) you may rightly ask whether this would have a direct impact on any compensation case. The truth is that most cases that reach court have been approved by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and that is a very strong positive indicator for the CICA who usually will not allow a bad day in court to prejudice an otherwise credible application. The jury system in the UK is not perfect and not all verdicts are fair. So the disappointment of an acquittal verdict need not be compounded by a failed compensation case. Do not be put off making your claim in these circumstances.

What abuse awards can I claim for under the CICA compensation scheme?

If you are an eligible claimant then the CICA may make an award under their tariff of injuries which is a sliding scale of compensation payouts depending on the specific circumstances of the abuse. The payment is aimed at compensating you for the acts and the injury caused. Whilst no amount of money can ever truly compensate you the governments system is aimed at recognising your suffering and offering some redress. The key factors in determining the level of the award will be the nature of the sexual abuse (ie: penile penetrative or molestation) and the period of suffering. Penile penetrative abuse occurring for up to 3 years can lead to an award of £16500. If this form of abuse lasted more than 3 years the award lifts to £22,000. Cases involving molestation will usually carry an award in the region of £3300. In cases where mental health disorders are known to be the result of historical abuse, awards of between £6200 (minor to moderate level) - £27000 (severely disabling level) are possible. An example of such a condition would be PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) which is very common in abuse cases. Please be aware that any claim for a disabling mental health condition must be supported by evidence from a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist. You cannot rely on a GP or therapists report because such evidence is no longer allowed for mental health conditions under the scheme. You can estimate the value of your likely sexual abuse award here.

Can I reclaim my lost earnings due to abuse related illness?

If you have been out of work as a result of the abuse perhaps because of your mental health, then a claim for loss of earnings may be possible. The CICA will only pay earnings at the rate of £94.25 per week which is the governments level of statutory sick pay (SSP) as of April 2019. The first 28 weeks of any period of absence is ignored but thereafter an award will be considered but subject to the following strictly applied conditions: 1)  The first condition is that as a direct result of the injury for which the applicant is eligible for an injury payment they have NO or very limited capacity for paid work. 2) The second condition is that the applicant: (a) was in paid work on the date of the incident giving rise to the injury, or, in the case of a series of incidents, at any time during the series; (b) had been in regular paid work for a period of at least three years immediately before the date of the incident giving rise to the injury; or (c) had a good reason for not having been in regular paid work for the period mentioned in paragraph (b). Many people struggle to find evidence to document their earnings claim from perhaps their employers or customers if self employed. One very effective way to provide evidence of lost earnings is to obtain your HMRC employment records for the period of the claim. This is easily done via the HMRC portal.

Do I need a solicitor or legal advisor to claim abuse compensation?

No you do not need a representative unless you have a complex case (as explained these cases are not straightforward) or would prefer not to deal with the government directly. You can reach the CICA on 0300 003 3601 if you wish to go direct. Our recommended course of action is to have a chat without any obligation to an experienced legal advisor before you decide on the best way forward. You can speak to us informally and we will explain what options you have.

If I use a solicitor or legal advisor - who pays the legal bill?

The government do not allow for legal fees to be recovered for any CICA claim. Legal Aid is no longer available either so how you might ask do legal firms get paid? Put simply our firm and many others offer a No win No fee service whereby no fee is charged if the claim is refused. On the other hand if the claim succeeds and an award is made, our legal fee will be 25% of the compensation award which means you receive 75% of the full amount. Case example: An award of £11,000 would result in a fee of £2750 leaving a net sum of £8250 compensation payable. If a case fails and no award is paid, no fee would be payable to us. You can cancel your instruction to us at any time in writing up to the point of the matter being determined by the CICA. The benefit gained is that you have a professional legal team working for you and pay nothing up front. You only every pay a fee if you win your case and the sum due is deducted from compensation paid by the government. Remember you do not need a representative - but many choose quite rightly to instruct one for reasons explained.

What if I have a criminal record - can I still claim sexual abuse compensation?

For many people with a serious conviction record a CICA sexual abuse claim may not be possible. There are very punitive measures in place within the CICA scheme for those who have fallen on the wrong side of the law and yet have on the face of it an entitlement to criminal compensation. However not all convictions are the same, some are less serious than others and the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (reformed and updated in 2012) provides some scope for certain convictions to be deemed "spent" and time served after a penalty period has elapsed. It is strongly recommended that you seek advice on this issue before you make a claim to the CICA if you do in fact have a criminal record. The timing of your claim will be crucial and it is possible to check your criminal record along with the timetable for any ongoing penalties on the Criminal Records Office ACRO website here. Please read our dedicated page here on the subject. You only get one chance to claim - get advice before it is too late.

If the sexual abuse happened decades ago is it too late to claim?

It is very common for victims particularly in relation to childhood abuse to keep what happened to themselves and many choose to come forward some time later as adults. Even if the sexual assault or abuse took place years ago you may still be eligible to claim compensation either by way of a CICA application or perhaps a civil claim against an organisation you may hold accountable for your pain and suffering. There are many legal firms now willing to take on civil actions against public bodies, councils, social services, schools, churches and many other organisations who may have been negligent in allowing sexual abuse to occur. If you believe you have such a case - seek advice from a No win No fee solicitor. We can give you some guidance in this area. BE AWARE - SAME ROOF RULE: If your case involves historical abuse taking place in the 60's and 70's new rules are now in place to ensure you can still have a chance of winning abuse compensation. Please read our dedicated "same roof" page on this issue. We are hopeful that following a groundbreaking Court of Appeal case [July 18] this very unfair rule will be amended to allow for historical claims to be made.
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