Historical Abuse
Compensation & Claims

Historical abuse can have devastating effects for years afterwards, often affecting mental health and requiring counselling or other support. In traditional criminal or assault compensation claims, there are time limits – but this is not the case for historical abuse.

If you’ve suffered abuse at any time in your life and are still feeling the effects, you can apply for compensation. At Criminal Injuries Helpline, our solicitors are trained in dealing with assault cases just like yours. We’ll listen to your story sensitively and guide you through the compensation process on a no win, no fee basis.

What is historical abuse?

Historical abuse refers to abuse that took place when the victim was under 18 years old. A victim may not be old enough or simply not want to make a claim within the normal time limits of an assault, in which case they would make a historical abuse compensation case.

 It’s important to note that the definition of historical abuse differs from historical sexual assault. In the UK, 1 in 6 sexual assault cases goes unreported. This can be for many reasons, from fear of repercussions to shame and trauma.

The key difference is that the term ‘historical abuse’ specifically refers to incidents that happened when the victim was under 18.

Victims of assault, for example, adult sexual assault victims, may still be able to claim outside of the two-year limit if they can prove that the attack continues to affect their life.

For example, they may be undergoing psychiatric therapy.

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Can I claim compensation for historical abuse?

It is still possible to claim for historical abuse, even if many years have passed since you reached the age of 18. For example, you might be thinking about something that happened to you at school or in an institution, prompting questions like, “can you report child abuse years later?”

The simple answer is yes. You will need to make a full report with the police, who can begin your investigation by gathering evidence. This could come from a range of sources, including:

Witness statements

from people you knew at the time, for example, other former residents in an orphanage.


of the accused abuser’s phone or laptops to look for evidence of other abuse.


of your medical history or psychological treatment records.

At the Criminal Injuries Helpline, we can help you make a no win, no fee historical abuse claim. This means we would seek compensation for you through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

The CICA is an executive agency of the UK government set up to help victims of crime. By making a claim through the CICA, victims do not need to face their attackers, nor does the attacker know the claim is being made. This is also helpful if victims don’t know their attackers – they can claim compensation and move on with their lives safely.

How do I report historic abuse?

Reporting historical abuse can be one of the most difficult experiences you’ll ever have to go through. It’s important to take your time and only do so when you’re ready. Our solicitors are fully trained in handling claims like yours, so we will guide you through the process with sensitivity.

You should start by contacting the police, whom you can contact on a non-emergency number, 101. They will ask for the following:

Your name and contact details

The name of your attacker, if known

Where the assault happened

The dates and type of historical abuse.

You’ll then be transferred to a specially trained officer, who can take a statement. You will not be asked to face your attacker.

How is historical abuse proven?

Whether you’re reporting historical sexual abuse or physical acts of violence, the case will be harder to prove if the incident took place years ago. After you have made your statement, the police will look into the evidence you’ve given above and check for other reports made against your attacker.

The police will provide evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service, who will look to see if abuse occurred “beyond reasonable doubt”. The case could also be taken to court if there is a general concern for public safety – for example, if the attacker is employed at a school.

How can historical abuse be proven?

Though it is more difficult to gather evidence, historical abuse can be proven with one or more of the following:

  • Witness statements from other victims or those associated with the attacker, such as other teachers
  • Medical reports, for example, with details of injury, or incident reports from institutions
  • Photographs or CCTV evidence
  • Previous history of violence.

Where to turn if you have been a victim of historical abuse

The team at Criminal Injuries Helpline is here to listen to you if you’re ready to report historical abuse. Our specially trained case lawyers will help you to gather evidence and talk to the police, all of which will build your no win, no fee compensation claim. We’ll process your claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, so you will not have to face your attacker.

You can also seek help from the following charities and organisations:

  • Victim Support – helping victims of crime and abuse
  • NSPCC – helping child victims and historical victims get the support they need
  • NAPAC – the National Association for People Abused in Childhood
  • Your local council, police station or healthcare provider.

There is no excuse for abuse. If you have been the victim of an assault, our specialist lawyers at Criminal Injuries Helpline are here to help you move on with your life. Get in touch with us today to start your no win, no fee compensation claim.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I have to go to court?

In the majority of UK assault compensation claims, you will not have to go to court. If you’re making a civil claim (against the attacker) you may have to appear in court. Our trained solicitors can go to court with you and talk you through the process. You’ll also have the option to change your mind or provide a statement through a video link.

Will my attacker know I’ve made a claim?

If you’re making a criminal assault claim through the CICA, your attacker will not know you have made a claim. The only people who will know about your claim are the CICA, the police, your doctor and your legal representatives. If you are making a claim against your attacker, then they will be informed – but you will be kept safe and will not have to be in the same room with them.

What if there were no witnesses?

We understand that many assault compensation claims will not have witnesses – for example if you were attacked in the street at night. In many cases, your statement alone is enough to claim through the CICA, though statements from others may help. If the attacker has been convicted, this could also strengthen your case. We will talk you through your options when you call us to start your claim for criminal assault.

What if my attacker has died or has no money?

If you don’t know your attacker, if they have died, or if they cannot pay compensation, you can still claim through the CICA. This is a government organisation and awards compensation to assault victims based on the seriousness of the victim’s injury. You will need to claim within two years of telling the police, and should have police records and medical records where possible.

How much does it cost to make an assault compensation claim?

You can start your assault claim through us free of charge. We’ll offer you a free consultation call to discuss your options and how to claim with the CICA. If you decide to proceed, you will only pay our 35% fee if you win your case. All cases are settled on a no win, no fee basis, and the fees come out of your total assault compensation amounts.

What if I don’t have my Police Crime Number?

The CICA will only take on assault claims with a valid Police Crime Number. If you’re still living in the same area, you can call 101 to speak to your local police centre and find out this number. If you’ve moved away, you can call the main county police centre, who will be able to put you through and find out your number. We can act on your behalf if you do not feel ready to do this.

What is the ‘same roof abuse’ rule?

The ‘same roof abuse’ rule applies to domestic violence claims, but has since been abolished. The CICA had a rule whereby those who were abused by attackers living in the same home could not claim for compensation. This affected anybody making claims between 1964 and 1979. Thankfully, this rule was abolished in 2012. That means that if you suffered assault in your home between these years, you can make a compensation claim today.

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    Abuse is never an option

    Contact the Criminal injuries Helpline today

    If you are looking to get your life back on track, contact the Criminal Injuries Helpline today. Our sensitive, expert solicitors are trained in domestic abuse cases just like yours, and could help you receive up to £500,000 in compensation, no win, no fee.

    We understand the devastating effects abuse can have on your life. That’s why we’re trusted by Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre. We’ll always deal with your case confidentially, safely and sensitively.

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    Victim Support 

    Victim Support is an independent charity founded to help victims of crime. You can contact them for free, confidential support and resources online, or call 0808 168 9111.