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How To Claim Compensation For Child Abuse – View Our Victims Of Child Abuse Claims Guide

How To Claim Compensation For Child Abuse – View Our Victims Of Child Abuse Claims Guide

August 26, 2019 8:38 pm0 comments
Criminal Injuries CICA Free Advice On Payouts Sexual Abuse Criminal Injuries CICA Free Advice On Payouts

If you were the victim of child abuse, it can impact you for the remainder of your life. Child abuse can involve emotional, physical, sexual and domestic abuse, but it can also involve neglect. Sadly, many young people have to live with all of the aforementioned which results in the memories staying with them throughout their lives. To find out more about child abuse and whether you would qualify to receive compensation for the distress, pain and suffering you had to endure, please read on.

Getting Help From People Who Understand The Consequences of Child Abuse

If you were abused as a child by someone who had control and power over you, it is important to seek help and support from people who understand the consequences of having to live through this type of traumatic  experience when you were still young. Many children think it is their fault that things are happening to them, but in reality, any sort of abusive behaviour towards a child is wrong and it is never the fault of a child but their abuser. Getting help and support from organisations like Victim Support, can help you come to terms with your feelings and could help you move on with your life.

The Shocking Child Abuse Statistics in the UK

Studies have established that about 1 in 4 adults both female and male have been subjected to childhood abuse. Later in life some abused children find they can move on with the help and support of their families and close friends. However, many survivors of childhood abuse remain scarred for life and find it difficult to talk about their experiences to anyone including family and friends. This has an extremely negative impact on their lives.

The Consequence of Being Subjected to Child Abuse

Victims of childhood abuse whether it was through neglect, sexual abuse or being physically or emotionally abused by someone, often keep their experiences bottled up which can result in them suffering from the following:

  • Memories of their experiences which brings on intense emotions/feelings
  • Fear and anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Sleep disorders
  • Suicidal thoughts and/or self-harm

Many adults who experienced child abuse also suffer from poor health later in their lives because they find it hard to do things like the following:

  • Being seen and examined by a GP or other doctor when they are ill
  • Having trouble going to the dentist for a check-up resulting in dental issues

Having been abused as a child, victims find it hard to seek help when it comes to their health because they fear being asked questions or being touched by anyone including medical professionals.

Some victims of child abuse put their experiences to the back of their minds, living with their feelings in secret only to suddenly recall the child abuse they experienced. Something may trigger intense feelings, it could be a bereavement, reading a news story or moving home to a new area of the country.

There are many support groups and organisations that offer help, support and advice to people who were victims of childhood abuse and this includes Victim Support. Seeking support can help you cope any overwhelming emotions you may experience as a result of having been a victim of child abuse at the hands of an abuser.

What You Should Do If You Were the Victim of Child Abuse

Having been a victim of child abuse, you may be entitled to claim compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2012 which is government funded. However, for the CICA to accept your claim, it must meet the necessary criteria set out by the authority. You would be eligible to claim child abuse compensation if your case meets the following criteria:

  • That the child abuse was reported to the Police
  • The Police must have carried out a full investigation into the child abuse crime with your full cooperation
  • You must file your application through the CICA scheme within 2 years of having reported childhood abuse to the Police

However, the deadline although strict, can be extended by the CICA if you suffer from mental health issues or because there is an exceptional reason why you could not have made an application within the 2 year deadline.

What is the CICA Scheme?

As previously mentioned, the CICA is a government run body that was established to compensate people who were subjected to any sort of violent crime. The scheme was set up in the mid-sixties a time when the compensation scheme was first created. Every year, up to 35,000 applications are processed by the CICA and around £150 million is awarded to innocent victims who were subjected to violent crime and this includes child abuse.

Would My Child Abuse Claim Be Accepted By the CICA?

Providing your child abuse claim meets the criteria set out above, and there is enough evidence to establish that on the “balance of probability” there was a crime committed against you, then your claim through the CICA scheme may be accepted. It is worth noting that should your case have gone before a judge in court, this is typically a good indication that a crime had been committed. However, it is not essential for q case to go to court for you to receive child abuse compensation through the CICA scheme as long as there is enough evidence to prove your claim against an abuser.

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What is the Process After I Report Child Abuse to the Police?

If you were the victim of childhood abuse, you may find it hard to tell anyone about your experiences because you are unsure of what the outcome may be. The thought of having to go to court can be very off putting to most victims but being able to tell someone about your  traumatic childhood experiences and how your life has been negatively impacted, can be liberating.

These days, the Police are very well equipped to deal with victims of childhood abuse and have specially trained officers who fully understand what you may be going through and how hard it is for you to come forward against your abuser. When reporting a child abuse crime to the Police, they would need to interview all parties involved which includes the following:

  • Your abuser
  • Witnesses
  • Your doctor or psychologist if you have been seeing someone to get either medical treatment of psychiatric help

The Police would also need to have copies of your medical records and after assessing that the crime against you was committed, the Police would then refer it to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) if you live in England or Wales.

For Scotland, the Police would refer your case to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service or COPFS. It is then that a decision would be made as to whether your case against your abuse can go forward and a window or trial date would be set. A court case may take from 1 to 2 years to be heard and more complicated cases that involve more victims can take even longer to be heard.

You may not need to attend court or for your child abuse case to succeed in court for you to file a claim for child abuse through the CICA scheme providing you can meet the “eligibility test” that establishes the following:

  • A crime was committed against you on the “balance of probability”

It is best to seek legal advice before making a child abuse claim against an abuser through the CICA scheme to avoid any unnecessary delays or your case being turned down by the authority due to a lack of evidence.

What Happens if the Police Do Not Take Any Action Against an Abuser?

Even if the Police do not take any further action out against your abuser after having commenced their investigation, it does not mean you cannot make a child abuse claim through the CICA scheme. A solicitor would be able to advise you on whether your case meets the “balance of probability test” which all applications must meet for the case to be accepted before submitting your application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

If you need help and support because you would like to seek compensation for the child abuse you had to endure, another organisation that provides essential advice and support to survivors of childhood abuse is NAPAC.

What About Confidentiality and Privacy When Making a Child Abuse Claim Through the CICA Scheme?

If you have concerns that your privacy and confidentiality are at risk if you make a child abuse claim against an abuser through the CICA scheme, it is important to remember that this is taken very seriously by the authority which protects all victims and their privacy at all times and throughout the legal process. The only people who would be made aware that you are making a child abuse claim would be the following:

  • The Police who would need to provide essential evidence to the authority relating to the child abuse against you
  • Your doctor of psychologist if medical reports are required to substantiate your child abuse claim against an abuser
  • Witnesses who would need to provide statements both the Police and the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

At no time during the child abuse claim process would your abuser be informed that you are seeking child abuse compensation through the CICA scheme. With this said, should you want to, you have every right to seek compensation from an abuser by filing a civil suit against your abuser, in which case, the abuser would have to be told of your intentions.

What Evidence Would I Need to Provide When Making a Child Abuse Claim to the CICA?

When making a child abuse claim through the CICA scheme, the authority would want to substantiate all the allegations made against an abuser. The “balance of probability” must be determined as to whether a crime was committed towards a victim and that wrongdoing and criminal intent was indeed accepted as a fact by the Police.

As previously mentioned, the more evidence that can be provided to substantiate a child abuse claim, the more chance that your claim for compensation to the CICA would be accepted. This may include providing medical reports and records as well as witness statements. The medical report would prove any mental health issues you may suffer from as a result of having been abused as a child which includes if you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Providing this type of evidence could also improve your chances of being awarded any loss of earnings you may have had to endure which could be included in a child abuse claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme.

Can I Include a Serious Long-term Mental Health Issue in a CICA Claim?

Many victims of childhood abuse suffer from PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder. Should this be the case, you could be entitled to include the fact that you do suffer from the disorder when making a child abuse claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme. With this said, for the CICA to award compensation for serious mental health issues, it must be classed as a “disabling mental injury” and your condition must have been diagnosed by either a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist for the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority to accept your claim.

CICA do not consider any evidence of mental health issues that are provided by your GP or therapist if you have been seeing one as enough proof that you suffer from a mental health issue because you were abused as a child. Therefore, the authority would reject any claims relating to mental health issues and would not accept this as part of you child abuse claim.

How Long Does it Take for A CICA Claim for Child Abuse Compensation Usually Take?

The majority of CICA claims are settled within 12 to 18 months of an application being submitted to the authority. With this said, there are two ways that your case could be assessed  which would dictate how the authority assesses your childhood abuse claim against an abuser. These are as follows:

  • You can opt to settle an eligible claim using only Police evidence
  • You could choose to settle an eligible claim using both Police evidence and medical evidence

Should you not have suffered from any mental health complications, a personal injury lawyer may recommend that you opt for the “Police only” method of assessing your child abuse claim which could see you receiving a final settlement reached within six months of submitting your claim to the authority.

However, if you developed serious mental health issues because of the child abuse you were subjected to, then choosing the second option of having both Police and medical evidence used to assess you claim would be the better option. The reason being that the medical condition you suffer from would not be considered if you choose Police evidence only. This could result in you being awarded far less in the way of child abuse compensation than you may be entitled to receive through the Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme.

Seeking Legal Advice From a Personal Injury Lawyer When Making a Child Abuse Claim

It is always wiser to seek legal advice from a personal injury lawyer before making a child abuse claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme. A lawyer with vast experience of handling this type of delicate case understands that filing for compensation against an abuser brings back many bad memories and as such, they treat you with the respect you deserve.

Personal injury solicitors such as also understand the complexities of making a child abuse claim through the CICA scheme and respect the strict 2 year time limit associated with this type of case. They also appreciate that providing substantial evidence is a necessary requirement so that CICA are able to prove the “balance of probability” that criminal intent was committed against you was established.

The solicitor would also represent you on a No Win No Fee basis, which means their fees for representing you would be deducted from the amount of child abuse compensation you are awarded through the CICA scheme. A lawyer would also ensure that should your case go to court, you have the option not to appear and confront your abuser, bearing in mind that the majority of child abuse claims are settled before they go before a judge.

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