If you have suffered a rape or sexual assault in the UK you may be entitled to claim compensation under a government backed scheme. On this page you will find out how to make your claim online, what you need to know about the scheme and how much rape award compensation can be claimed.
The scheme rules are very strict and 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.
Please read our helpful statutory rape claim guide for 2020 below and view our award calculator tool at the foot of the page.
Please click to select the query or section required:
Rape can be defined as an unwanted (non-consensual) and unlawful penile penetrative sexual assault 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 the UK victims of violent crime are able to claim compensation from a government body known as the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). Applications to the CICA scheme are subject to strict eligibility criteria. Compensation following a rape attack can be awarded for personal injury and mental trauma under the scheme. The average award for such an assault is around £11,000 but higher sums are payable if you have suffered more than one assault or have a serious disabling mental health condition. More information on what can be claimed is detailed below.
*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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 likely to go to trial 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 for the complainant 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 tend to be lenient when looking at delayed applications where a rape trial has recently finished. But this is a tricky area as the claim process is very time sensitive – delays can be prejudicial. CALL FOR ADVICE if you are unsure – 01423 593002.
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
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.
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.
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:
If your case has been refused it may still be successfully reviewed or appealed – please SPEAK TO US on 01423 593002
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:
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:
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.
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.
The CICA compensation scheme allows for loss of earnings to be reclaimed but subject to some very specific conditions which we list below:
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.
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.
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.
There are many groups which can offer further help and support for victims of rape.
Please see the following links for more information:
Call our sexual assault specialist helpline for advice. You can reach us on tel: 01423 593002