Claims against Sexual or Physical Abuse
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.
Generally this is the most common method of bring a claim for child abuse. Awards for compensation in a civil action brought against the abuser(s) or the abusers employers are higher, than those which can be achieved in pursuing a claim via the CICA.
Our Solicitors understand that making a claim for abuse can be extremely difficult, stressful and upsetting, we will ensure that you are treated with sensitivity and that anything discussed will be treated in the utmost confidence. We have a professional duty to you to ensure that all information is held with confidence.
It may well be that you 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 can support you if you decide to report matters to the police, if it is the case that you have not done so. 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. We are confident that they will take your allegations seriously. Once you have discussed the details of your experiences and allegations, 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. Each situation and circumstance may be different and 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 good practice to make an application to the CICA for abuse crimes. This is due to in the event that your civil cation against the abuser fails, if this were to occur than at least you may be compensated by the CICA. Please note that 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 that 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
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 2 years of the sexual abuse/crime or — if later — 2 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, by the child’s 20th birthday. CICA has a 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. Whilst CICA’s decision is final, this does not affect any civil claim.
These requirements may not be suited to claims for child abuse as it is often the case that the abuse happens outside of the CICA timeframes and requirements. However it is not impossible to pursue a claim given the right legal support and advice.
You must consider that if you pursue a CICA claim that it’s often the case that the award for compensation is less than what you would be awarded if you brought a civil claim against the abuser. If you later pursue a civil claim and you 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. We can visit your home, you can come and see us at our offices, we can discuss over the telephone and SKYPE. We are willing to make you free as comfortable as possible when making the initial step to tell us what has happened.