Sexual Abuse Compensation Claims
If you’ve suffered sexual abuse, 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 sexual abuse claims solicitors are specially trained in cases just like yours, and will help you to get the compensation you deserve.
Claiming for sexual abuse compensation
You may have suffered at the hands of an individual or an organisation. Whatever your circumstances, you deserve justice. Sexual abuse 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 sexual abuse claims just like yours, and we’ll guide you through every step of the legal process.
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What is sexual abuse?
Sexual abuse is any kind of unwanted sexual contact that is not penetrative. While rape compensation claims relate to those who have been forced to have penetrative vaginal, oral or anal sex, abuse claims concern touching, being watched or having your photograph taken naked without consent.
Consent means that you have the right to say no and understand the outcomes of saying yes. You must be able to give your consent to any form of sexual touching. In some cases, the victim is not able to give consent, for example:
- If they are a child
- If they do not know they are being watched or photographed naked
- If they are mentally incapacitated, for example if they have learning difficulties
- If they are intoxicated under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- If they feel forced or coerced into sexual touching, for example if they feel unsafe.
Forced circumcision is also considered grounds for the sexual abuse compensation scheme, whether male or female. This applies to all countries in which is it illegal.
Can I claim compensation for sexual abuse?
You can claim compensation for sexual abuse either for a child, or yourself as an adult, through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). This is a government scheme that awards compensation to crime victims, regardless of whether or not the attacker is known. When judging sexual abuse compensation claims victims must:
- Report claims to the police, whether they are recent or not
- Cooperate with police investigations
- Submit a sexual abuse compensation claim within two years of going to the police
There are some rare exceptions to the two-year limit. For example, if the victim has suffered psychological damage and has not reported the case until years later, they then must be able to prove that they have seen a psychologist or psychiatrist (not a counsellor). Our experienced solicitors can let you know if you qualify to make a sexual abuse claim through the CICA based on your individual circumstances.
Claiming through the CICA
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is a government body set up in 1964 to award compensation for victims of sexual abuse and other crimes. CICA can process sexual abuse claims even if the victim does not know the attacker or where they are. Each year the CICA awards around £150 million in criminal compensation.
You can apply to the sexual abuse compensation scheme through the CICA if you’ve been the victim of sexual abuse. Normally you will need to make this claim within two years of the assault, though there are exceptions, for example if the abuse happened when you were a child. The CICA may be able to access records to support your claim.
Claiming for sexual abuse through the CICA is a worthwhile but lengthy and complicated process. We strongly advise you seek our professional legal help to get you the settlement you deserve. Our trained solicitors are here to listen to you and settle your compensation in a sensitive manner.
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Claiming against the abuser
You can also make a current or historical sexual abuse compensation claim by suing the abuser directly. If you know your attacker, you could claim for assault or threats of violence. You may also be entitled to a court order to prevent the abuser from contacting you.
Minors (those under the age of 18) can also claim against their abusers, but they will need an adult representative, known as a litigation friend, to start the claim. You don’t need as much proof if you’re suing an individual directly. Ask our specialist legal team about what you’ll need to start your claim against an abuser.
Problems with suing an abuser
You should always seek legal advice before suing an abuser directly. These cases are often lengthy and there is no guarantee of the outcome. As it is a civil issue, there is also no criminal charge, so they will not be sent to prison and could potentially abuse others.
These cases usually involve a court appearance to give evidence, which is in public unless you ask otherwise. We can make a private application on your behalf. You do have rights to anonymity – for example, the media cannot publish your name or identify you unless you give them permission to do so.
Support is available to help you through the claim process
Claiming against an institution
Some claims, such as child sexual abuse compensation claims, are made against institutions where you are put in somebody’s care or under somebody’s leadership. For example, you may wish to make a historical sexual abuse compensation claim against a hospital, care home, school or church. It is these institutions’ responsibility to keep you safe.
Institutions such as hospitals, care homes, schools and the church have a duty of care to make sure you are protected. Generally, if you are abused by someone in a leadership role, the organisation would be liable to pay the compensation. However, we examine all claims on a case-by-case basis to confirm who is responsible.
In some cases, for example, the claim would be against an individual. If the individual has been convicted before, this could support the case. Otherwise, there may have to be other evidence to prove the allegations and that the institution is at fault.
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How much compensation can I claim?
The CICA has a tiered system for sexual abuse compensation claims, which factors in the type and severity of the abuse, as well as the duration.
- Sexual abuse compensation amounts:
- Sexual acts over clothing without penetration – £1,000 to £1,500 depending on frequency
- Sexual acts under clothing without penetration – £2,000 to £3,300 depending on frequency
- Single act of non-penile penetrative oral or genital contact: £3,300
- Two or more isolated acts of non-penile penetrative oral contact: £4,400
- Up to three years’ repetitive abuse: £6,600
- Over three years’ abuse: £8,200
- Serious injuries resulting from repeated sexual abuse: £22,000
- Disabling mental illness confirmed by a psychiatrist: £22,000 to £27,000
- Single act of non-consensual penetrative sex (rape – vagina, anus or mouth): £11,000
- Single act of non-consensual penetrative sex involving two or more attackers: £13,500
- Repeated rape over three years: £16,500 to £22,000
- Permanent physical and mental disability due to long-term abuse: £33,000 to £44,000
How long after can I make a claim?
Generally, you have two years from the date that you reported the abuse to make a claim with the CICA. If you were under 18 at the time, you have until the date of your 20th birthday to make a sexual abuse compensation claim.
In some cases, you may be able to make a claim outside of this two-year limit, for example, if you have been seeking psychiatric help for mental health effects. Our legal team will advise you on any time limits to claim for sexual abuse.
How long does a claim take?
We aim to settle all sexual abuse compensation claims within 18 months. However, if you are submitting a claim through the CICA, you will be given two options to settle your claim:
- To make a claim with police evidence only
- To make a claim with police and medical evidence.
Claims with medical evidence may take longer. However, if you do not have any severe mental health impacts, you might consider a police-evidence-only claim. These usually take around six months.
We would strongly recommend that you only choose the quicker route if you have nothing else to consider, such as loss of earnings. Otherwise, you may lose out on your full compensation amount. At Criminal Injuries Helpline, we go above and beyond to get you the sexual abuse compensation you deserve – even if it takes a little time.
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Further information and support
Your journey to recovery will go beyond financial compensation or criminal justice. You may also seek counselling or other support. You can find out more about sexual abuse support below.
The National Association for People Abused in Childhood is there for adults who have suffered physical, sexual and emotional childhood abuse. It offers a free support line as well as self-care tips.
Call 0808 801 0331. Lines are open 10am to 9pm Mondays to Thursdays, and 10am to 6pm Fridays.
The NSPCC is the UK’s leading children’s charity. It offers resources on how to spot child abuse and how to report it, as well as local service centres.
Victim Support is an independent charity in England and Wales that helps those affected by crime. All support is free and confidential. The organisation offers information on different types of crime, what happens in a court case, and safeguarding.
Call 0808 168 9111 24 hours a day.