Statistics published by Rape Crisis show that around 97,000 women and men are raped in the UK every year with close to half a million adults suffering a sexual assault in any 12 month period. The physical and psychological damage and injuries you sustain have long lasting effects that can negatively impact the remainder of your life. If you were a rape victim and need help and advice on how to claim the compensation for the pain, suffering and psychological damage you have to cope with, you should seek legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in rape compensation claims.
What Are the Long Lasting Effects of A Rape Assault?
If you were a victim of rape, it is not only the physical injuries sustained that you find hard to cope with, but also the psychological damage you have to endure. Physical injuries of rape include the following:
- Fractured and broken bones
The psychological damages you may have to endure for the remainder of your life could include the following:
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Low self-esteem
According to the Office of National Statistics, the number of rape and sexual assault crimes increased by 37% during the year 2016 as compared to the previous year. Unfortunately, rape remains a real issue throughout the UK with victims not receiving the level of protection needed when reporting a rape incident to the authorities. With this said, if you have been a victim of rape, you should report your ordeal to the Police and you should not be afraid of seeking compensation which you can do through the Criminal Injuries Scheme 2012.
What is the Legal Definition of Rape?
The legal definition of rape is when a person performs “unlawful sexual intercourse” without the consent of their victim. This includes all sexual acts which are detailed below:
- Penetration using a sex organ, other body parts or objects in a person’s vagina, mouth or anus without the person’s (victim) consent
It is worth noting that there is a legal difference between “rape” and “sexual assault” which is explained as follows:
- Sexual assault is when a person touches you in an inappropriate sexual way or they force you to perform a non-penetrative sexual act and they do so against your will
- Rape is when penetration without your consent takes place
It is not just women who are the victims of rape, men and children also being rape victims who would be entitled to claim compensation for the pain, suffering and damages they had to endure at the hands of an assailant.
What Would My Rape Claim Include?
Filing a rape compensation claim through the Criminal Injuries Scheme 2012, means that you could be awarded an amount for all the physical and psychological injuries and damages you had to endure. You would also be entitled to claim the following through the scheme:
- Your financial losses which includes rehabilitation and medical expenses
- Any loss of income you incurred
- Loss of future earnings should you not be able to work again
- Loss of opportunities as a direct result of the incident you had to endure
How Do I Claim for Physical Injuries Caused by Rape?
It would be fair to say that victims have to endure violence when they are raped which in short means, sustaining physical injuries such as the following:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Anal bleeding
- Genital soreness/injuries
- Cuts/bruises around the pelvic area and other parts of the body
- Swelling around the genital area
- Choking and beating injuries
- Tears of the tissue between the vagina and anus (perineum)
- Sexually transmitted diseases
The physical injuries and damaged caused to rape victims may be immediately evident, or they could show up weeks later.
If someone forced themselves on you and performed penetrative sex which results in you suffering any sort of physical injury, you should report the incident to the Police and seek medical attention without delay. You could be entitled to file for damages and be awarded compensation for the injuries you had to endure as a direct result of being a rape victim. You rape claim would go through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) and the person who attacked you (or their employer) could be made to pay damages for your pain, suffering and other expenses you incurred.
Providing you are able to identify your attacker, you could claim damages from them providing their assets cover the amount of compensation you are claiming from them. Should your assailant be working for a company or organisation and they were carrying out their normal daily duties when the rape attack occurred, you may be entitled to claim damages from the company or organisation they work for.
The best course of action is to contact a solicitor who deals with rape victim claims. They would be able to identify who you should file a rape claim against which they would do by assessing all the facts pertaining to the case.
How Do I Claim for the Psychological Damage I Suffered Having Been Raped?
The emotional and psychological damage of being raped can be devastating and the long-term effects can remain with you for the rest of your life. The psychological damage you may suffer having been a victim of rape could include the following:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – which results in you suffering intense fear, a sense of helplessness, lack of trust, depression, irritability, mood swings, lack of concentration, bitterness and violent flashbacks
- Low self-esteem
- Eating disorders
- Sexual disorders
Some victims of rape can also be the victims of bullying and harassment following an assault. Many also find that they miss out on opportunities that arise and this includes the following:
- Social opportunities
- An ability to work
The negative emotional effects that you may have to suffer and endure can be debilitating, changing your outlook on life which is why seeking compensation for all the psychological damage you sustain having been a victim of rape, should never be overlooked.
How Can the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Help?
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) was set up by the UK government with the end goal being to deal with cases of violent crimes, including rape compensation claims filed by victims of this type of assault. Every year, victims of violent crime are awarded compensation to the tune of £200+ million for the pain, suffering and damages they had to endure through no fault of their own but at the hands of a third party or parties.
It is worth noting that CICA also awards compensation to innocent witnesses and bystanders if they are psychologically affected by what they saw and this applies to any relatives of victims who died as a result of violent crime too.
What Does The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority Scheme Cover?
There are specific things that are covered by the CICA when it comes to criminal injury claims which are detailed below:
- A victim’s loss of earnings
- The medical expenses they incurred
- Child/dependency payments
- Bereavement payments
- Other expenses incurred as a direct result of violent crime
If you were the victim of rape, you would still be entitled to receive compensation even if your assailant was not caught or placed in custody because the CICA takes the following criteria into account when reviewing rape claims:
- That the rape was reported to the police and other prosecuting authorities promptly
- That a victim of rape sought medical attention as soon as possible
- The extent and nature of rape injuries sustained
- The circumstances in which the rape occurred – whether the sexual act was consensual or not
- Witness statements
- Psychiatric reports
- A victims’ behaviour both before and after the incident
- Past criminal records
- Cooperation with the police, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, the criminal justice system and all other relevant authorities
Filing a rape compensation claim is often a stressful and complex legal process bearing in mind that necessary procedures are complicated more especially as the CICA procedure is strict and must be adhered to. As such, it is far better to seek legal advice as soon as possible which ensures all the necessary evidence and documentation pertaining to a rape case, is gathered in a timely manner.
What is the Time Limit for Making a CICA Rape Compensation Claim?
There is a strict 2 year time limit associated with rape compensation claims filed through the CICA. The 2 year limit starts from the date of a rape incident or date the incident was reported to the police. Failing to start a claim early enough could mean you would be unable to seek the compensation you rightly deserve for all the pain, suffering and expenses you incurred as result of being a rape victim.
What Do I Need to File a Rape Compensation Claim?
If you were the victim of rape, it is understandable that you may not want to tell anyone about the fact you were assaulted in such a violent way. However, you must seek medical attention as soon as possible and report the rape assault to the police in order to file a claim through the CICA. Other steps you should take are detailed below:
- Gather as much evidence as possible – keep your clothes on, do not take a shower straight after the assault. You should wait until you have reported the incident and sought medical attention before doing this
- Write down as many details of the rape assault as you can remember and a description of your assailant
- If you were raped in commercial premises (hotel, school or other business premises), you should report the incident to the management and do so formally
- Keep all the receipts you incurred as proof of your out of pocket expenses which you had to pay out as a direct result of being raped
- Seek legal advice as soon as possible because you do not want to run out of time when filing a rape compensation through the CICA
Working with a No Win No Fee Solicitor on Your Compensation Claim
If you were the victim of rape and are unsure of how best to proceed, the best course of action is to seek legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in rape compensation claims. Having the support of a solicitor, helps you cope with what can only be described as a traumatic and painful experience. A solicitor would assess your case before offering to work with you on a No Win No Fee basis taking the extra burden of finding the money to pay for legal representation when you need it the most.
You would be asked to sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) which sets out the “terms and conditions” of the contract you enter into with the solicitor. It also sets out the percentage you agreed to pay the solicitor but only if your rape compensation claim is successful and the amount you would pay is deducted from the amount you are awarded. Should you lose your claim, there would be nothing to pay for the legal representation you received in filing a rape compensation claim.