Compensation for Historic Abuse Claims
If you've experienced physical or sexual abuse, our solicitors are here for you and will provide confidential and compassionate legal support.
Can I Claim Compensation For Historic Abuse?
We understand that making a claim for abuse can be extremely difficult, stressful and upsetting; we will ensure you are treated with the utmost sensitivity, and we have a professional duty to you to ensure all information is held with confidence.
There are two methods of seeking compensation for child abuse. A claim can be brought before the civil courts and the victim (the abused) may also submit a claim via the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). In some situations, the victim of the abuse may be able to bring a claim against both.
A civil action is the most common method of bringing a claim for child abuse. Awards for compensation in a civil action brought against the abuser(s) or the abuser’s employers are higher than those which can be achieved when pursuing a claim via the CICA.
It may well be that your abuser has been convicted of an offence relating to your child abuse or the abuse of others. If this is the case, then your civil claim may be less complex to pursue. If, however, your abuser has not been convicted or the police are not aware of the abuse, it would be your choice at this stage to consider whether you would like to report the offences/abuse to the police. We will guide you through your options and support you at every step the process.
We can support you if you decide to report matters to the police if you have not done so already. There are advantages to reporting the abuse to the police such as:
- The police will investigate a criminal allegation and gather evidence which could assist a Civil claim;
- If there is enough evidence, the police may charge the abuser with a criminal offence;
- If a criminal conviction is secured, the civil claim will be easier to pursue as evidence relevant to the civil claim would have been heard in open court;
Most if not all police forces have dedicated specially trained officers who will listen to your complaint. The Police will be sensitive to your situation when they discuss the kinds of abuse you were subjected too. Once you have provided the details of your case, they will investigate the allegations and consider criminal prosecution.
You may have been the victim of abuse when you were a child or be the parent/guardian of an abused child. Regardless of the context, we will treat you with the respect and care you deserve.
Child abuse compensation claims and the CICA
The CICA (Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority) is a government-funded scheme which processes applications for compensation on behalf of victims of violent and sexual crime.
It is advisable to make an application to the CICA for abuse crimes because if civil action against the abuser fails, you still have a chance of being compensated by the CICA. Please note if we do submit your claim to the CICA and also pursue a civil action, the CICA will put on hold your CICA claim pending the outcome of the civil action.
It is important to note in law you cannot claim for the same injury (physical or psychological) twice. You, therefore, are not able to receive compensation award via the CICA fund as well as recover damages via a successful civil claim. If you choose to pursue a civil claim for compensation as your primary action for abuse, you are still able to lodge an application with the CICA and request that your application is stayed pending the outcome of the civil proceedings.
Contacting the CICA
The address for the CICA is Tay House, 300 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4LN, contact number 0300 003 3601, website https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/criminal-injuries-compensation-authority
We can assist you to pursue a CICA claim; this entails completing the claim form, assisting in gathering evidence in support of the application, negotiating settlements, and challenging decisions via an appeal process.
There are certain requirements for a CICA claim to succeed and a CICA claim is subject to time limits:
- The abuse must have been reported to the police, and the applicant must have co-operated with any prosecution which arose as a result;
- The application to the CICA must be made within two years of the sexual abuse/crime or — if later — two years from the date when the abuse was first reported to the police. If the victim is a child at the time of the incident, it must be brought by their 20th birthday.
- CICA has the discretion to allow applications to be made out of the time limit. However, once a decision has been made, it is final and cannot be appealed. While CICA’s decision is final; this does not affect any civil claim.
Often the abuse has occurred outside of the CICA timeframes and requirements, however, there may still be routes to pursuing a claim, given the right legal support and guidance.
You must consider that if you pursue a CICA claim the award for compensation is often less than what you would be awarded if you brought a civil claim against the abuser. If you later pursue a civil claim and are successful, then any monies awarded in the CICA application may have to be repaid.
All initial enquires with our legal team are free, confidential, and there’s no obligation to proceed. Our Solicitor can arrange to meet in your home, by telephone, Skype, or in our office; whichever is best for you. We want you to feel as comfortable as possible when making the initial step to tell us what has happened.