Domestic Violence & Abuse
If you’ve suffered domestic violence, you’re likely to be experiencing many different feelings. You may seek justice, financial compensation or even an apology – any way that gives you closure for a traumatic experience. Our domestic violence claims solicitors are specially trained in cases just like yours, and will help you to get the compensation you deserve.
Claiming for domestic violence compensation
You may have suffered at the hands of an individual or an organisation. Whatever your circumstances, you deserve justice. Domestic violence compensation claims cannot undo the pain that you suffered, but they can help you to gain closure and get your life back on track.
For friendly advice without judgement, speak to our expert solicitors at Criminal Injuries Helpline. We offer decades of experience handling domestic violence claims just like yours, and we’ll guide you through every step of the legal process.
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Domestic Violence Compensation Claims
Standing up to domestic violence can be daunting – particularly when it involves somebody you trust, or happens over a long-term period. Many victims do not go to the police for fear or shame. At Criminal Injuries Helpline, we’re here to remind you that this is not your fault, and you can make a no win, no fee domestic violence compensation claim.
The incident may have happened once or you may have suffered years of bullying or abuse. Domestic violence can be committed by a partner, family member, or even a family friend – particularly where children are involved. Whatever your situation, our trained lawyers are here to listen to you and deal with your compensation claim sensitively.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence refers to a violent or abusive relationship. The abuse is usually committed by a romantic partner, spouse or loved one. It may include physical assault, mental abuse or sexual acts without consent.
The term “abuse” usually applies to sustained acts of domestic violence over a period of time, rather than an isolated incident. Victims may feel bullied or manipulated, and the abusers may “coerce” their victims through threatening behaviour.
Sexual abuse claims affect those who are forced into non-consensual penetrative sex or sex acts. Victims may suffer both physical and psychological symptoms, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). You can find out more about rape or sexual abuse compensation claims here.
Types of domestic violence
There are many types of domestic violence, and your compensation claim will consider their devastating effects, from short-term physical damage to long-term mental effects. Victims may feel confused or ‘play down’ the abuse as their attacker is somebody they love. We can help you to make a domestic violence compensation claim whatever your circumstances, and always encourage victims to come forward.
Domestic violence claims may relate to:
- Physical abuse: physical beatings or forcing a victim to stay inside
- Emotional abuse: demeaning criticism, controlling behaviour or threats of violence
- Psychological abuse: “gaslighting” techniques, making the victim feel insecure, guilty, or questioning their own judgement
- Financial abuse: denying a victim access to their bank account, shared funds or even food and clothes
- Sexual abuse: non-consensual penetrative or non-penetrative acts, or criticism and coercion into sex.
You can make a claim for domestic violence compensation as soon as you are in a safe place, for example, if you’re no longer living with your abuser. Get in touch with our sensitive, trained legal experts – we’ll never push you to make a claim and will only start legal proceedings as soon as you feel ready to do so.
Can I claim compensation for domestic violence?
You can claim compensation for domestic violence up to two years after the incident or two years from when the incident is reported. While you may simply want to move on in life, making a domestic violence compensation claim may give you the closure you need.
These claims hold your attacker responsible and ensure you are financially compensated for the pain you’ve suffered. You can make a compensation claim for:
- Pain and suffering, both physical and emotional
- Medical expenses for physical injuries
- Expenses for counselling or other psychological treatment
- Damage to personal property
- Loss of earnings (including potential income) for time needed off work.
Claiming through the CICA
You can make a domestic violence compensation claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). This UK government scheme was set up to award domestic violence victims compensation. You do not need to know your attacker and they do not need to have been convicted or charged with the crime.
You normally have two years from the date you reported the incident to make a claim, but there are some exceptions. For example, if you were claiming for abuse you suffered as a child, the CICA can look at records from the local authority. This is especially helpful if you did not tell the police.
Our specialist lawyer teams can help you to fill out the CICA claim form to make sure you have recorded all details correctly.
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Reporting Domestic Violence to the Police
When it comes to reporting domestic violence, your safety must always come first. This is often why domestic abuse is not reported straight away – the victims are concerned for their own health or that of their families. It’s important that you do come forward to stop the violence long-term, and keep your loved ones safe.
Support is available to help you through the claim process
There is ample support available to families who have suffered through domestic violence. The police fund support networks to keep you safe while your case is under investigation. You will only deal with trained professionals who will be sensitive to your case and listen to your story. Your loved one may be prosecuted, so please be prepared to cooperate should this happen.
You can call 999 in an emergency or 101 for non-emergencies. You can also register to use an emergency SMS service. The police will help you as soon as possible, contacting you within 24 hours. They can also help you with temporary housing or longer-term alternatives, or supply legal counsel if you have to go to court.
Other Compensation Services
How much compensation for domestic violence can I claim?
The domestic violence compensation amount varies depending on the nature and severity of the case. The CICA has pre-set amounts for some types of abuse, for example:
Sexual abuse compensation amounts
- Non penetrative physical acts – up to £3,000 depending on frequency
- Single non-penetrative or oral-genital abuse: £3,000
- Repeated non-penetrative or oral-genital abuse: £4,400
- Up to three years’ abuse: £6,600
- More than three years’ abuse: £8,200
- Abuse resulting in serious injuries: £22,000 to £27,000
- Abuse from multiple attackers: £13,500
- Abuse resulting in serious injuries and permanent disabling mental illness: up to £44,000
The CICA awards one figure only – whichever represents the highest level of abuse you’ve suffered.
Physical injury compensation amounts
In cases of non-sexual, physical harm, such as grievous bodily harm, the CICA makes calculations based on injuries to specific body parts. You can make claims for multiple physical injuries, but you will be compensated for the three highest value injuries.
The CICA compensation scheme operates to award one figure, the one which represents the highest level of abuse you have suffered, according to the above criteria. That means you don’t add up each individual amount, but rather go down the list until you reach the most serious level of abuse you have suffered.
Average claims for serious physical abuse of adults are £2,000, but if this is ongoing, your claim could be worth as much as £8,200. Claims for specific, significant damage, for example brain damage resulting in disability, could result in as much as £175,000.
We can talk you through your expected domestic violence compensation amounts when you talk to us.
Child abuse compensation amounts
The amounts for child sex abuse claims are the same as adult sexual abuse. However, other injury amounts include:
- Intermittent violence resulting in marks: £1,000
- Intermittent violence including burns with no disfigurement: £2,000
- Repetitive violence resulting in fractures and bruising or minor disfigurement: £5,500
- Multiple serious injuries: £8,200
- Multiple severe injuries: £13,500.
How long after can I make a claim?
You generally have two years from the date you reported the incident to make a claim with the CICA. If the police made a report before you turned 18, then you may claim up until the date of your 20th birthday.
There are some exceptions to this. For example, if you suffered significant mental health problems (and sought psychiatric help) then your claim time will be extended.
How long does a claim take?
How long your domestic violence claim takes will depend on the approach you take with the CICA. Generally, domestic abuse compensation claims take around 12 to 18 months to settle, but if you claim through the CICA, you have two options.
The CICA will ask if you want to claim:
- Using police evidence only
- Using police and medical evidence.
If you have not suffered mental health complications, you may choose to take the police-only route. This means your claim could take less time, for example, six months.
However, many domestic abuse victims will have suffered physical and mental damage, which could lead to losses such as time off work. For this reason, it is usually best to claim for medical evidence as well. Your claim will take longer, but your compensation amount will be higher.
Frequently Asked Questions
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Further information and support
We understand that compensation is just the beginning. You can find more support and counsel from the following groups, dedicated to helping survivors just like you.
National Association for People Abused in Childhood
NAPAC offers support to adult survivors of those abused in childhood. You can call their support line on 0808 801 0331 or visit their website for more resources.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children helps to prevent harm and rebuild children’s lives after abuse. You can find resources online or call 0808 800 5000.
Victim Support is an independent charity that helps victims of crime get the support they need. You can call their support line on 0808 168 9111 or request support online here.