In the UK victims of child sexual abuse or sexual assault are able to claim compensation through a government scheme managed by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). Such claims can be complex as the scheme rules are strict, eligibility is not a certainty for many abuse victims.
This page provides you with some essential guidance and some useful tips to help you through your abuse claim.
Be aware: The CICA is not a charitable organisation, nor are they an ombudsman. They will stick to their rule book and refuse around 20,000 claims every year. Our 5 top tips below will hopefully help you to avoid any issues with your claim.
If you are a victim of child sexual abuse or sexual abuse as an adult, you may be eligible for compensation if:
Eligibility will generally be decided upon subject to the above points but there is flexibility and not every case will fit into this standard criteria. If you are in any doubt regarding your entitlement to claim – CALL 01423 593002 for advice
You can submit your compensation claim by instructing a legal representative or claiming without legal support via the CICA. Speak to us on 01423 593002 for guidance.
The decision about when to claim must be determined by two things: firstly whether the police investigation into the abuse has progressed or completed; secondly whether you are inside or beyond the 2 year CICA application deadline. Many prospective claimants will wait until the criminal trial is over before submitting their abuse claim. This is understandable given the clear priority on justice being done. However if the 2 year deadline is missed you may run into difficulties with your CICA claim.
In most cases you will have 2 years from the date of police disclosure or 2 years from when you reach the age of 18 in order to submit your CICA abuse claim. But what if you miss this deadline?
Many abuse victims will miss the deadline due to the police investigation taking longer than 2 years to complete. Others will find themselves simply too unwell to claim in time. The deadline is in our view unfair and unrealistic. Nevertheless, it is a real deadline and must be taken seriously.
There is however one way to beat the CICA deadline rule.
If you are unable to claim in time due to related ill health (mental health issues arising from abuse for example) ask your doctor to provide a letter explaining this. The CICA will usually extend the deadline where “exceptional circumstances” exist. Genuine related ill health is quite rightly an exceptional reason for a delayed compensation claim.
Most CICA abuse compensation claims will take more than 12 months to conclude. This is particularly the case for those that have serious mental health complications. If you are also seeking loss of earnings you can expect to wait up to 2 years to receive any settlement award.
So how can you settle your case in a quicker time frame? For those that do not have serious mental health concerns and do not wish or need to claim lost earnings, there is a way to beat the delay and receive a faster settlement.
When you or your legal representative are making the application to the CICA there is now an accelerated option for those who have a straightforward claim. This ONLY applies to victims of sexual crime not violent assault. Simply select the option on the application form that asks the CICA to settle your claim reviewing the police evidence only and this removes the need for lengthy (unnecessary) medical enquiries. Selecting this option can lead to a settlement within 3-6 months reducing the usual claim period by half.
The CICA award system is based on categorised tariffs rather than a case by case individual award. This means that the CICA will place your claim in a certain category depending on the seriousness or level of sexual abuse you have endured. Then the fixed level of compensation pertaining to that category will be applied to your case.
Here are a few common examples across a range of categories:
Sexual abuse involving molestation: up to £3,300
Sexual abuse involving frequent incidents of digital penetration up to 3 years: £6,600
Sexual abuse involving penile penetration up to 3 years duration: £16,500
Sexual abuse involving penile penetration more than 3 years duration: £22,000
This will give you some idea as to the range of compensation that is paid out by the government under the CICA scheme. The awards are not huge and many will find the above disappointing. But one has to remember that the CICA scheme allows for some recognition and redress only, it does not seek to compensate in the way that perhaps the civil courts might do in similar circumstances. You have to understand the limitations within the compensation scheme and do your utmost to achieve the best possible outcome within the current system.
Make sure your case is settled within the correct category or banding. The CICA do make mistakes and can be challenged.
If your case involves a single one off incident you may wish to view our rape compensation page.
Follow these simple steps:
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Are you concerned about a loved one suffering domestic abuse? More information here about Clare’s Law which may assist you and the person at risk.