If you have been the victim of sexual abuse or assault, you may be able to claim compensation for the physical and/or psychological injuries, as well as many other financial losses that you may have suffered as a result of what has happened.
At Prettys, we will guide you through every step of your claim, whether it is brought through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICA), or whether it involves bringing a civil claim against the assailant or an organisation responsible for that person.
We ensure that your case is dealt with sensitively, providing the highest level of care, and confidentiality.
Our aim is to obtain the compensation that will help you to move forward in your recovery and to provide you with all the help and support that you need.
We understand that compensation cannot change what has happened, but we can assist to provide you with some form of justice to recognise the suffering.
Who can I bring a claim for compensation against?
- CICA : In most cases where the incident(s) involved an individual who is unlikely to have any money to pay out compensation to you, then any claim for compensation will be submitted to the CICA which is a government backed fund who pay out compensation to victims of violent crime in England, Scotland and Wales.
- The Assailant: If the assailant has funds or even insurance in place that covers the claim, then you may be able to bring a civil claim (which is a formal, private claim for compensation which can be brought by one person against a third party) directly against him/her.
- Employer: Where the incident(s) has taken place whilst you were at your place of work, then you may be able to bring a claim against your employer for failing to keep you safe from harm.
- Other organisation/institution: Where the incident(s) has taken place whilst either you or your assailant were carrying out duties at a certain premises, then you may be able to bring a claim against the institution/organisation who owned or had control of the premises where the incident(s) took place, or who were responsible for the assailant.
The police didn't prosecute/my case against my assailant wasn't successful. Can I still claim compensation?
However, if you are pursuing a claim through the CICA route, you will have to have reported the incident to the police and received a crime number, and to have co-operated with their investigations.
Even if the criminal case is not pursued, you can still pursue a claim through the CICA scheme.
If you are bringing a claim for compensation as a civil claim against the individual, your employer, an organisation or institution, then you do not necessarily have to have involved the police.
It is however helpful in these cases for you to have reported the matter to someone, but failure to report does not mean that you cannot pursue a claim at all. We appreciate that there can be a range of reasons that disclosure of the incident(s) is not made by you at the time.
Is there a time limit for pursuing a claim for compensation as a result of sexual abuse/assault?
- In terms of claims being submitted through the CICA scheme, you have 2 years from the date of the incident to submit your claim.
- If the incident(s) took place over a period of time, then you have 2 years from the date of the last incident to submit your claim to the CICA.
- If you are making a CICA claim for an incident which happened when you were a child, you have 2 years from the date that you reported the incident(s) to the Police.
- If you are making a civil claim for compensation against the individual assailant, your employer or any other institution/organisation, then you have 3 years to start court proceedings against the appropriate person/organisation.
- If you were assaulted or abused as a child, then you have 2 years from the date of your 18th birthday to submit a CICA claim i.e. by your 20th birthday, and 3 years from this date i.e. until your 21st birthday to submit a civil claim through the civil courts.
If you were assaulted or abused as a child, then you have 2 years from the date of your 18th birthday to submit a CICA claim i.e. by your 20th birthday, and 3 years from this date i.e. until your 21st birthday to submit a civil claim through the civil courts.
What evidence will I need to submit a claim for compensation as a result of sexual abuse/assault?
- The police crime reference number and any copies of their reports, records, correspondence, witness statements that you can gather from their investigation into the matter.
- Photographs of any injuries (if appropriate) sustained.
- A medical report / your medical records detailing the injuries/illnesses that you have suffered/are suffering from.
- Names and if possible contact details of any witnesses who can assist with your claim, including, where appropriate, details of the person(s) you may have reported the matter to.
- Any contemporaneous reports of the incident/injury e.g. diary, social media records/entries of relevance.
- Data / any relevant information about your assailant.
- If you are intending to claim for loss of earnings as a result of the incident(s), wages information – pre and post incident.
- If you have received and paid for any treatment to assist in your recovery, receipts/details of these expenses will be helpful.
Do I have to attend court if I submit a claim for compensation as a result of sexual abuse/assault?
Most cases settle without proceeding to a court hearing.
If the claim for compensation is not settled by the person/organisation that you are bringing the claim for compensation against, then you may have to attend court.
We can however take steps to ensure your anonymity if court proceedings are required, and you may be able to give evidence from behind a screen or via video link if necessary.
How much is my claim for compensation worth?
There are often two parts to a claim for compensation that can be submitted either through the CICA scheme or as a civil claim against an individual or an organisation:
- The first part of the claim is called “General Damages” and this is compensation for the actual injury/illness and therefore the pain and suffering as a result of the incident(s).
The extent of the value of this part of the claim will depend upon the injury/illness itself, the extent of the symptoms that you are suffering, how much those symptoms have interfered with your home and working life, and how long you are likely to suffer the symptoms for.
The CICA scheme operates a tariff based scheme and depending upon the circumstances of your case, you could be awarded a few thousand pounds, up to higher five figure sums.
Generally, the levels of compensation available to you through bringing a civil claim is higher, dependent upon the extent of the injury/illness that you have sustained.
The second part of your claim is referred to as “Special Damages” and this is compensation for the expenses that you have incurred in the past or costs that you will incur in the future as a result of the injuries/illness that you have sustained arising from the abuse/assault.
Examples of special damage include:
- Loss of earnings and pension
- Care received (often from family members or friends)
- Travelling expenses (for example to attend upon your GP or other healthcare providers)
- Treatment and medication expenses
- Damage to belongings
Again, the extent of these losses will depend upon the extent of the injury/illness that you have suffered, and therefore the impact that this injury/illness has had in terms of your home and working life.
How long will my case take to settle?
It may only take a few months to settle your claim for compensation if responsibility is accepted quickly or you have opted for the CICA to fast track your claim and your recovery from your injuries/illness is such that your claim can be valued and the matter then proceeds swiftly to a settlement.
Incidents however that cause more severe symptoms and which require extensive and ongoing treatment may take much longer before a settlement can be reached and the claim brought to a conclusion, or if responsibility for your claim is not accepted readily.
If you have been the victim of sexual assault or abuse and are considering pursuing a claim for compensation, and would like advice and assistance on the matter, please contact our Louise Plant on 01473 232121 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.