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Rape victim compensation advice - How to make your claim

Rape and sexual assault victim compensation - Claim your award

If you have been the victim of a non-consensual penile penetrative sexual assault (otherwise known as a rape assault) you may be able to claim CICA government compensation.

Your compensation may include an award for lost earnings if you are unable to work for more than 6 months due to the events. A claim can be made whether a guilty or not guilty / not proven verdict is returned or in some situations even if the case does not reach court.

On this page you will find out:

  • How to make your claim online.
  • How much compensation you can claim following a rape assault.
  • What your deadline is for applying.
  • What problems can occur during a claim and how to maximise your prospects of success.

We are the Criminal Claims Bureau a regulated firm who represent victims of rape wishing to claim compensation. Our updated 2023 compensation guide below will answer many of your questions but you can call us for advice on 01423 593002 or by Whatsapp / text 07707 338965 chat with our team online if we can assist you further.

All compensation payments are funded through a government scheme managed by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) who are part of the Ministry of Justice.

female rape victim looking determined

Rape can be defined as non-consensual and unlawful penile penetrative sexual assault of the vagina, anus or mouth by one person upon another person. Such offences in the UK are dealt with by the Sexual Offences Act 2003. In cases involving historical or "non-recent" rape assaults different legislation and legal standards may apply as the Sexual Offences Act 2003 does not operate retrospectively. The charity Rape Crisis suggest that 20% of women and 4% of men have experienced some type of sexual assault since the age of 16.

In order to apply to the CICA following a sexual assault of this type you need to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You must have reported the rape or sexual assault to the police
  • The police must be able to investigate thoroughly with your full cooperation
  • You must submit your claim to the CICA (*in most cases) within 2 years of going to the police

*It is possible to claim after the deadline in cases where the victim suffers mental health problems or has an exceptional reason for any delay.

You do not need to use a legal adviser or solicitor in order to make your claim. The CICA will deal with the public directly and therefore it is your choice as to whether you are represented or not. More here on claiming without legal support.
It is advisable to get legal help if your case is complex, if deadlines have been missed or if you cannot face dealing with the claim procedures alone.

Our rape assault award calculator below will give you a better estimate of the likely award that may be achieved in such cases. If the CICA accept your case and an award is made for non-consensual penile penetration a fixed award of £11,000 may be made for a single incident. All penile penetrative assaults of the vagina anus and mouth come under this category.

Some common example award payouts are listed below:

  • Non penile penetrative acts: £3,300 – £8,200
  • Penile penetrative assault single event - £11,000
  • Or over a period (more than one rape assault):  £11,000 – £22,000
IMPORTANT: The offender has no involvement in the claim - awards are government funded
However be aware that strict eligibility rules apply to each and every application.

Unfortunately not all claims will be accepted. Learn everything you need to know here to maximise your chances of obtaining your award across England Scotland & Wales. We offer specialist legal support for victims of rape or sexual assault.

3 very good reasons for making a compensation claim following a rape assault:

  1. The government pay your award from public funds - victim compensation is not paid by the offender(s).
  2. An amount of £11,000 may be paid for a single assault involving one offender. More on this below
  3. All claims are strictly private & confidential.

Who is involved or finds out if you decide to make your claim?

If you decide to make a claim following a sexual assault the process is strictly private and confidential. The only organisations or people involved in the process will be the CICA, the police, your doctor (GP) and your legal representative if you instruct one. The offender does not have any knowledge of the application and is not involved in any way during the process.

What happens when you report a rape assault to the police?

In the year ending September 2022, sexual offences recorded by the police were at the highest level recorded within a 12-month period (199,021 offences). These cases represent an increase of 22% compared to 2020. [source]

A criminal investigation is not something any of us would relish being involved in. It can be an extremely daunting time and the decision to disclose to the police will be a very difficult one for a person to make. Investigation procedures are now very different to previous years when rape victims were perhaps not afforded the sympathy they deserve. In todays environment, the police are much better equipped and trained to handle sexual assault cases.

The police will want to interview all relevant parties and witnesses. The witness statement from the “complainant” will usually be in video form once the initial disclosure has taken place. The offender may also be interviewed under caution on video. Additional evidence will be considered such as medical records, phone based media evidence and any witnesses spoken to. The matter will in due course be considered for a referral to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in England & Wales or The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) in Scotland for the decision to be made on a possible prosecution. If the case is to proceed a trial date or window will then be set. The process can take anywhere from 1-2 years. More complex cases involving multiple victims may take longer.

More information here on what happens when you report  a sexual assault to the police.

The issue of consent in rape cases

When considering the allegations in a rape case the police will address the question of consent. There will be two stages to how the police consider whether consent was given:

  • Firstly it has to be assessed whether the complainant had the capacity to choose whether or not to take part in sexual activity (were they in a fit state to give consent?)
  • Secondly you must consider whether the complainant was free to make a choice regarding consent and not constrained or coerced in any way.

This is a hugely difficult area for the police and prosecutors and all available evidence must be assessed to form a clear view on what happened. The question of capacity to consent when investigating a rape assault is particularly relevant when a complainant is intoxicated by alcohol or drugs. This issue remains very controversial as the test for whether someone is too drunk or too intoxicated to consent is entirely subjective and based on witness testimony usually.

Cases where no court action is taken - police drop the complaint

It is not necessary for a case to go to court in order for a CICA claim to be considered following a rape assault. A victim can submit an application at any time following disclosure to the police. However it is advisable to await the end of the investigation if at all possible before claiming (subject to the application deadline being adhered to). If the police drop the case and investigation it may be more difficult to obtain an award. The official statistics show that the police do not have good success rates when it comes to handling sexual assault cases. However each case is assessed on its own merit and all award decisions are made on the civil law test "balance of probability" which is not the same burden of proof required in criminal proceedings.

Find out what you can do if the police decide not to prosecute an offender. Also read more about the appalling conviction rate for rape offences in England & Wales in 2018/2019.

If a case is going to court - is it better to delay a claim?

If a case is likely to go to trial some people take the view that it is sensible to consider delaying your rape compensation claim. The main reason for this is that a Defence barrister may raise the question during the trial if a claim has been intimated and the prosecuting legal team may be very wary of this. However the problem here is that the CICA have a 2 year deadline on claiming which runs from the date of the police report of the assault. Most court cases will not be heard within that time. It is therefore a difficult dilemma.

All we can say is that the CICA have very little leniency when looking at delayed applications where a rape trial has prolonged an investigation. This is a very difficult issue to advise on as the claim process is very time sensitive - delays can be prejudicial. CALL FOR ADVICE if you are unsure.

Compensation may be paid even if a trial proves unsuccessful with a not guilty or not proven verdict.

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

About the CICA online claims process and scheme rules

The CICA was set up in 1964 to provide victims of violent or sexual crime with much needed compensation following their ordeal. The scheme itself has a number of quirky and very strict eligibility rules and their criteria must be met in order for any award to be made. The key criteria is that your complaint must be reported to the police, you must apply within 2 years of this date and must cooperate at all times during the police investigation. Your criminal record will be checked to see if you personally have any convictions - this can lead to a claim being refused. More here on why unspent criminal convictions can be a serious issue. Also read our top tips on claiming abuse compensation from the CICA

Types of evidence required to make a successful rape or sexual assault claim

The CICA will always obtain evidence from the police to substantiate the allegations made against the offender. Medical evidence may be required in most cases usually this will come from your GP or perhaps the hospital. Such evidence is only necessary if mental health issues arise from the events, you can still receive an award even if there has been no medical intervention.

It is possible to claim loss of earnings for those that have been absent from the workplace as a result of the incident. This is only possible for long-term absence and evidence from an employer or HMRC will be necessary.

How do you know your case will be accepted and you will receive an award?

Whether your rape assault compensation case is accepted or not will depend entirely on the CICA criteria being met and whether there is sufficient evidence to show that on the “balance of probability” a crime occurred. If your case has been to court, that is usually a good indicator of probability but it is also possible to receive a payout even if your case does not reach court. It really is a question of assessing the available evidence.If the police are supportive this can be a huge help to your case.

Top 4 reasons why some rape assault claims are refused

Not all applications will lead to an award being made to a victim of crime. Rape assault cases are notoriously difficult not only to bring to court but also in terms of their prospects of success compensation wise. Here are the top 4 reasons why some claims are refused:

  • There is insufficient evidence to show that a crime occurred - usually concerning the question of consent
  • The applicant has “live” or unspent criminal convictions - the CICA will refuse payment in such cases
  • The applicant failed to cooperate with the police during the investigation
  • The claim was submitted too late, in other words after the permitted 2 year application deadline

If your case has been refused it may still be successfully reviewed or appealed - please SPEAK TO US on 01423 593002 or by Whatsapp / text 07707 338965

CICA awards for a rape assault

Our rape assault award calculator below will give you a better estimate of the likely award that may be achieved in such cases.

If you suffer with mental illness you can only claim for this element if you have a condition diagnosed by a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist and there is a direct link to the event (assault). This is the standard of evidence that the CICA require and the bar is set deliberately high. But if you have a diagnosis and can provide such evidence, the following awards are achievable:

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) recovery likely within 3 years: £6,500
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) recovery likely but lasting 5 years or more: £13,500
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) condition likely to be lifelong/permanent: £22,000
  • Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD) generally deemed lifelong/permanent: £22,000

Claiming for serious psychological conditions such as PTSD

It is highly probable that anyone who endures a rape or sexual assault will suffer a psychological impact. Many victims are diagnosed with depression or anxiety but also Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which is a condition that can be easily identified by mental health specialists. Treatment can include cognitive behavioural therapy otherwise known as CBT and medication. More serious long-term sufferers may revert to more specialised therapy known as "Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing" (EMDR). This therapy is highly effective but not commonly available across the UK under the NHS.

In order to receive an award for a serious mental health issue any condition must be classified as a "disabling mental injury" and as stated above diagnosed by a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist. PTSD would certainly come under the disabling category but you must ensure that you have the necessary medical evidence in place. The CICA do not accept evidence from your GP or counsellor / therapist.

Physical injuries caused by violent rape and sexual assault

If a person suffers from personal injury as a result of violence during a rape assault this may be added to your claim. However only certain physical injuries can be claimed for under the current compensation scheme. For example injuries such as a broken nose,fingers or cracked ribs disappointingly are not subject to an award. However other injuries may be and if any internal damage has been caused that would be considered subject to appropriate medical evidence being provided.

Loss of earnings claims under the scheme

The CICA compensation scheme allows for loss of earnings to be reclaimed but subject to some very specific conditions which we list below:

  • You must have little or no capacity for paid work
  • You will need to establish that you either were in paid work leading up to the application (but can no longer work) or have been on long term absence due to the abuse
  • The first 28 weeks of any period of loss is not claimable under the scheme
  • Loss of earnings will be capped at the official level of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) valid at the time of settlement
  • You will need evidence from HMRC or a former employer to substantiate any loss

It is very difficult to negotiate a claim for lost earnings with the CICA. It is strongly recommended that you seek legal advice as the yearly award level is around £5000. When you consider a victim of crime may not work for many years due to the harm cause, this is a considerable head of claim.

Are your DWP benefits affected by a compensation award?

This is a very important issue for many people. All means tested DWP benefits can be directly impacted if you receive capital (ie a lump sum) in excess of £6000 into your bank account. A sum above £16000 could see your benefits stop completely. You can avoid losing your benefits by taking out a personal injury trust. We strongly recommend that you seek advice from the DWP and from your legal representative before you settle your claim. You should not prejudice your right to benefits at any time.

Call us to discuss your case today - 01423 593002,  Whatsapp / text 07707 338965 or complete our enquiry form

For help and advice on sexual assault or abuse compensation claims please visit our dedicated pages:

Call our specialists to discuss your case in confidence 01423 593 002 or use our quick enquiry form

Rape compensation calculator

Our simple compensation calculator online tool below has been created to provide prospective claimants with an idea of the likely compensation award that might be achievable under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) scheme. The calculation quoted will be an approximate award figure, please be aware that any final proposal assessed by the CICA may differ. It is advisable to obtain legal advice on your proposed settlement award before you conclude your rape victim compensation case. In order to calculate your award please choose a category and follow the instructions.

Helpful Contacts

There are many groups which can offer further help and support for victims of rape. Please see the following links for more information:

What to do next

Call our sexual assault specialist helpline for advice. You can reach us on tel: 01423 593002

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