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Sexual Abuse Compensation Advice

Our 2023 guide to help you claim for child sexual abuse

If you are a victim of sexual abuse either as a child or an adult in the UK and have notified the crime to the police at any time, you may be eligible to claim criminal injury compensation.

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.

Victims of sexual abuse can claim government award payouts through a scheme managed by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA for short). This is an agency within the Ministry of Justice. The compensation scheme has a strict set of rules and eligibility is not certain.

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

Female abuse solicitor

3 very good reasons for making a compensation claim following sexual abuse:

  1. The government pay your award from public funds - abuse compensation is not paid by the offender(s).
  2. An amount of £16,500 may be paid for multiple penile penetrative assaults. More on this below
  3. All abuse compensation claims are strictly private & confidential.

Help for victims of abuse

If you are struggling and need support to help you cope, help is available:

NAPAC - The National Association for People Abused in Childhood.

Survivors UK - Male rape charity. More here on sexual assault claims.

Lucy Faithfull Organisation - preventing child abuse across the UK.

Mental health support - NHS support and advice.

About the CICA and what do they do?

The UK government compensation scheme for all victims of violent crime is managed by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). This body was set up in 1964 when the very first crime victims compensation scheme was created. Each year the CICA deal with up to 30,000 applications and spend around £150 million in awards to innocent victims of violent crime.

The CICA refused 59% of all applications received during the period 2021 / 2022. This stark statistic confirms how difficult it can be to obtain compensation through the scheme.

About using a solicitor or legal advisor to handle your claim

You do not need a solicitor or legal advisor to make a claim. The CICA will deal with you directly. However it is important that you remember that they are not an Ombudsman type organisation nor are they a charitable one. They will assess your case on strict eligibility criteria and unless your claim is straightforward, it is sensible to seek free legal advice BEFORE you claim. We can help with any case but also those that are delayed or otherwise complex, those involving loss of earnings entitlement and cases already refused by the CICA. Our service is No win No fee. More on our No win No fee service here.

Top 5 reasons why some claims are refused

Not all assault or abuse claims will be accepted and there are many applicants who do not receive compensation. In many instances this has nothing to do with the police evidence but is the result of the CICA very strict scheme rules. Here are the top 5 reasons for cases being refused:

  1. The applicant has "live" or unspent criminal convictions.
  2. The applicant failed to cooperate with the police during the investigation.
  3. The claim was submitted too late, in other words after the permitted application deadline.
  4. A claim can be refused due to lack of cooperation during the process for example failing to provide required evidence to the CICA.
  5. Duplicate claims are not allowed - you can only submit one claim for each criminal matter. You do not get to claim twice.

More here on why unspent criminal convictions can be a serious issue.

What happens when you report a sexual abuse case to the police?

One of the most difficult moments for any survivor of abuse comes when they make the difficult decision to report the crimes to the police. The fear of an uncertain outcome, a scary court process but also disclosure of the abuse itself along with naming the abuser can all be overwhelming. The police however are very well equipped to handle such investigations and modern methods of investigating sexual crimes have made the process much easier to bear.

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 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 sexual abuse to the police.

Court action and whether it is necessary to make your claim

You do not have to go to court or succeed in court to make a claim for sexual abuse. However the eligibility test of being able to show that on the "balance of probability" the criminal events occurred, will still need to be met in order for the CICA to make a compensation award.

Cases where the police take no further action

If the police do not proceed with your case and either close the investigation early or the matter is not subject to any court proceedings, as stated above you may still be able to claim. The balance of probability test will need to be met. We see many compensation cases succeeding where the criminal proceedings fail so do not be put off making your application. Non recent abuse cases are hugely difficult. Find out what rights you have if the police decide against prosecuting an offender.

Is it better to await the outcome of the trial before claiming for sexual abuse?

It is not necessary to await the outcome of the trial before claiming following sexual abuse but it is wise to consider doing so. The police may take a view that applying too soon may actually prejudice the case if you are cross examined and the question of compensation is raised. However against this is the unfair CICA 2 year deadline which demands that your case is submitted 2 years on from disclosure to the police.

What if you have missed your application deadline?

As discussed above there can be many reasons why the deadline may be missed. We can advise you on how your claim can still be successfully made despite being late. We have managed to win cases that were delayed by 30 years or more. The key issue is the reason for the delay and whether health problems have contributed. BE AWARE: It is not sufficient to simply argue that you did not know about the scheme or the rule which may have led to a delayed claim. That explanation will not meet the exceptional reason criteria for a late claim being admitted.

We have an excellent track record of winning cases that are outside of the 2 year deadline - get in touch for advice.

The Same Roof Rule for pre-1979 cases and how you are now able to claim

Until the summer of 2019 the CICA would refuse any claim from a victim of sexual abuse that occurred within the family where the offender lived with the victim under the "same roof" prior to 1979. This extremely unfair rule was successfully challenged

in the courts during 2018 and now all such claims will be considered. We can advise you on your rights to apply if you suffered abuse prior to 1979.

Types of evidence required to make a successful sexual abuse claim

The CICA will always obtain evidence from the police to substantiate the allegations made against the offender. They must establish on the balance of probability that the events occurred and that criminal intent or wrongdoing was accepted by the police. Further evidence will then be required in most cases from an applicants GP or hospital (mental health department for example) to show the level of any injury caused. You do not need to show signs of a mental injury or disorder to claim an abuse award. The fact that the acts were perpetrated and abuse has been established is sufficient to receive an award. It is important that medical evidence is explored fully if you have a serious condition such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or a personality disorder. This may help support a higher compensation award and possibly a loss of earnings payment.

Claiming for serious long-term mental health problems

It is very common for abuse survivors to suffer from long-term mental health problems and such conditions can be compensated for under the government scheme. There is however a catch that rather disappointingly can restrict many justified cases.

In order to receive an award for a serious mental health issue any condition must be classified as a "disabling mental injury" and diagnosed by a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist. This means that evidence from say a GP or a therapist is not deemed sufficient and no award will be made unless a higher level diagnosis is achieved. For many this can be a major problem as people tend to try and cope without escalating to the local mental health team. But it is not possible to receive an award for disabling mental harm unless you have the right level of evidence.

Physical damage caused by sexual abuse

If you have suffered any physical injuries as a result of childhood sexual abuse, you may be able to claim for the injuries caused. We have experience in representing applicants who by the very nature of the acts perpetrated upon them have been injured internally suffering for example gynaecological or urological related injuries. Subject to medical evidence from suitable experts, these injuries can be included within your claim.

How long do CICA claims for sexual abuse take?

Most claims settle within 12-18 months. However when you submit an abuse case to the CICA you will be given two options regarding the method of how the claim is assessed. This directly affects how long a claim can take to reach a settlement. The CICA ask you to choose whether you wish to settle any eligible case using the police evidence only or the police evidence along with medical evidence. If you have no severe mental health complications then a "police evidence only" option might suit you. This might lead to a settlement within 6 months.

It is strongly recommended you only choose the quicker route if you do not wish to claim for a medical related problem and have no loss of earnings to consider. If you settle the claim without exploring medical evidence you may receive a much lower award than you are entitled to.

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

CICA awards for sexual abuse and sexual assault

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. This is the standard of evidence that the CICA (very unreasonably) require. The following awards are paid for such cases:

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) recovery likely: up to £13,500
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) condition likely to be lifelong: £22,000
  • Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD) - up to £22,000
  • Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD) generally deemed lifelong: £22,000

You can only receive one main award, so you will not be compensated for both the abuse itself and also any mental health condition. You receive the higher award from the two categories.

Can you claim for loss of earnings under the scheme?

The compensation scheme allows for loss of earnings to be reclaimed but subject to some very constraining criteria:

  • 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 CICA will ignore the first 28 weeks of any period of loss - only long term absence is considered
  • 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 loss of earnings.
  • You will also need clear medical evidence preferably from a consultant doctor explaining your incapacity and how this is linked to the child abuse you suffered.

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.

Can you claim for other losses such as care costs?

It is possible to claim for care costs under the scheme which are classified as "special expenses". However as you can probably guess such claims are not easy to make as you must establish that a care need exists and that medical evidence supports this. If the care costs can be covered by benefits (attendance allowance or PIP) this can give rise to a further complication. Reasonable costs incurred as a direct result of an abuse related injury can be recovered in certain cases.

How to protect your award if you are on DWP means tested benefits

If you are receiving benefits when you are about to settle your sexual abuse claim you need to be aware of the risks involved once you receive a large lump sum (classified as "capital" by the DWP). Any award in excess of £6000 may significantly affect your benefits entitlement. If you receive more than £16000 your means tested benefits can cease immediately. 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.

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

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

Sexual Abuse and assault compensation calculator

Our simple calculator tool below has been developed to provide prospective claimants with an idea of the abuse compensation award that might be achievable under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) scheme. The calculation is an approximate figure and any final abuse related award assessed by the CICA may differ. You should always seek advice on your case to ensure the correct level of award is paid. Historical claims of this nature are complex and need specialist advice. In order to calculate your award please choose a category and follow the instructions.

More information

Learning to cope

The road ahead is not just one that involves the police or legal outcomes. Help is available from may sources and there are a number of dedicated services which can provide support and guidance to those survivors who need it. Here are just a few based in the UK: If you would like to discuss your case informally without any obligation - call our confidential helpline and speak to a specialist adviser. Whatever your circumstances and whatever the complications we can usually find a way forward to help you make your claim. CALL OUR HELPLINE TODAY ON: 01423 593002
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