If you are the victim of a physical crime in the UK, there are three different ways you can make a personal injury claim for compensation. You can make a claim against the perpetrator directly (though ensuring compensation is paid can be difficult), you can make a claim against your employer or organisation responsible for your care, and finally you can make a claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
A specialist assault and abuse lawyer will be able to advise you on which options are available to make a compensation claim. There is no need to wait for a successful criminal prosecution in order to make a claim. For Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority claims you need to claim within two years of the crime being committed, so we recommend you make contact with a lawyer as soon as possible.
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Types of sexual and physical abuse claims
- When an adult commits sexual acts upon a child, this form of abuse can be physical or non-physical. It can also include grooming, exposing a child to explicit images or taking part in explicit photographs or films.
- This is abuse which has occurred to any individual when he or she was under 18 years old. It can include neglect, physical or emotional mistreatment or sexual abuse.
- Claims can be brought against individuals or institutions, such as children’s homes, foster parents, social services, schools, religious institutions or sports clubs for example.
- As the population ages, the issue of elder abuse has come to the fore. Abuse can include neglect, sexual abuse, physical or emotional mistreatment, or financial mistreatment.
- Claims can be brought against care homes, hospitals, carers (private or local authority) or family members.
Can I claim compensation for abuse caused by a family member or someone I know?
Yes you can. You should ensure that you instruct a solicitor who is familiar with dealing with these types of claims to ensure that you receive sensitive and appropriate advice.
Are there time limits for making abuse compensation claims?
There are, but in some circumstances, these can be extended. It is sometimes particularly difficult to discuss the abuse which has occurred and it can often take years for those who have suffered to be able to speak about it. The law has adapted to take this into account and a specialist lawyer in this area will be able to advise you, even if a long time has passed since the abuse took place.
Can I claim compensation if my abuser has died?
Yes, although you will need to take legal advice on this because it is not straightforward. When someone dies, their assets form part of what is known as their ‘estate’. If the abuser has died, but had sufficient assets (such as property, investments, insurance proceeds) then it is possible to claim compensation against the abuser’s estate. It the abuser was employed by an insured institution, for example a school or children’s home, then it may be possible to claim compensation from that employer even if the abuser is dead. Again, you should seek legal advice on this.
Other types of abuse and assault claim
Sentencing Act compensation order
If your abuser has been convicted of a criminal offence relating to your abuse, the criminal court may make a compensation order against a convicted person. This order would require him or her to pay compensation to you for the personal injury, loss or damage which has resulted from the offence, or any other related offence. This must be taken into consideration by the court when it is deciding what sort of sentence to impose.
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
This is a scheme which pays compensation based on a tariff. If you have sustained an injury which is directly attributable to you being a direct victim of a ‘crime of violence’ then it may be possible to apply for compensation from the CICA. The general rule is that an application must be received by the CICA as soon as possible after the criminal injury and in any event within two years after the date of that abuse. The CICA is able to extend this time limit in certain circumstances. The CICA can withhold damages or reduce the amount it pays in compensation for a number of reasons. These include where the abuse has not been reported to the police ‘as soon as reasonably practicable’; where the applicant has not cooperated to bring their assailant to justice or where the applicant has unspent convictions which indicate that their character makes compensation ‘inappropriate’.