The number of sexual abuse and assault cases throughout the UK are troubling whether it involves adults, minors or teenagers with both female or male victims being subjected to often violent sexual abuse. If you were a victim, you could be entitled to file a sexual abuse claim and receive the level of compensation you rightly deserve for the pain and suffering you had to endure at the hands of your assailant.
What is the Legal Definition of Sexual Abuse?
The definition of sexual abuse as compared to sexual assault is as follows:
- Sexual abuse is when a person makes “undesired sexual advances” towards another person
- Sexual assault is when a person makes “undesired sexual advances” towards another person and force is involved in the incident
When it comes to cases of sexual abuse, it can fall into 2 categories which are detailed below:
- Contact abuse – sexually touching you in an inappropriate way on some part of your body. Rape or penetration which includes inserting foreign objects into your mouth, vagina or anus. Forcing you to engage in a sexual act. Making you remove your clothes
- Non-contact abuse – exploitation or grooming another person which includes encouraging you to watch or listen to sexual activities. Forcing you to watch pornography
Anyone one, both female and male, adult or minor can be a victim of sexual abuse and it can involve both physical and psychological injury and damage.
Sexual Abuse Statistics
The cases of sexual abuse is common throughout the UK, and more especially when children and minors are involved. Statistics show the following:
- 1 in 20 children have been reported as being sexual assault victims
- About 470,000 adults experience some form of sexual abuse annually
- Over 400,000 women are victims of sexual abuse
- Over 70,000 men experience sexual abuse
- About 90% of sexual abuse victims know their assailant
The statistics above were taken from a Crime Survey carried out in England and Wales.
How to Claim Compensation for Physical Injuries Sustained Through Sexual Abuse
It goes without saying that suffering any sort of physical injury through sexual abuse can be devastating no matter when, where or for how long the abuse took place. If you are a victim of sexual abuse, you could be entitled to claim compensation for your injuries. Should the abuse have taken place at work, your employer or the business owner could be held responsible for the injuries you sustained through sexual abuse.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states that all employers must abide by specific standards as well as regulations that are in place which are detailed below:
- That all employees are kept safe from harm in the workplace
- To protect all persons other than employees against risks to their health and safety
Under UK law, all employers are responsible for keeping a working environment a safe place for you to work in. Should your employer fail in their duty to keep you safe from harm, they could be in breach of the law and you could claim compensation against them should you suffer any sort of injury or harm which includes having been the victim of sexual abuse in the workplace.
How to Claim Compensation for Psychological Damage Caused by Sexual Abuse
It would be fair to say that proving emotional and psychological damage due to sexual abuse can prove challenging because it is hard to measure emotional stress and the damage you sustained. With this said, the best course of action to take is to contact a solicitor who specialises in sexual abuse claims. They would be in the best position when it comes to offering essential advice and what steps are needed to prove the psychological damage you have to cope with because of the sexual abuse you had to endure.
With this said, under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) rules, whether your assailant has been arrested or held in custody, does not matter because all that you need to prove is that the person was your assailant. However, like most legal processes, filing a sexual abuse claim can be complex which is why it is best to seek legal advice as soon as possible so you are given the right guidance from the outset.
How Can The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Help With a Sexual Abuse Claim?
The UK government set up the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) as a way of providing victims the compensation they rightly deserve having been subjected to violent acts at the hands of a third party or parties which includes sexual abuse. If you were the victim of sexual abuse, you could be entitled to file claim for compensation through the CICA. However, there are specific steps that must be taken in order to do so which are detailed below:
- Report the incident to the police and keep the police reference number which you will need when filing a CICA sexual abuse claim
- Get a medical report detailing any injuries you sustained
- Seek legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in sexual abuse claims filed through the CICA
The above steps are necessary when filing a sexual abuse claim with the CICA
What is the Time Limit When Filing a Sexual Abuse Claim With the CICA?
There is a strict 2 year time limit to filing a sexual abuse claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority which is detailed below:
- 2 years from the date of the sexual abuse incident or 2 years from the time the incident was reported to the police
With this said, because this type of criminal offensive is deemed so sensitive, there are exceptions to this rule depending on the circumstances surrounding the sexual abuse you had to endure. As such, a time limit could be as long as between 10 and 20 years.
What To Do When Filing a Sexual Abuse Claim?
If you were a sexual assault victim, there is a procedure to follow should you want to file for compensation through the CICA scheme which is detailed below:
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible so you have a doctor’s record of the injuries you sustained
- Collect as much evidence as possible which includes photos of where the sexual abuse took place, your injuries and photos of your assailant if possible.
- Get witness statement and their contact details
- Report the incident to the police
- Report the incident to the owner of a business/company
- Document all your out of pocket expenses which you incur as a direct result of the sexual abuse assault
All of the above will prove and strengthen your sexual abuse claim.
How is the Severity of Physical and Psychological Damage Following Sexual Abuse Assessed?
In order to assess the severity of the physical injuries and psychological damage you suffered from being a sexual abuse victim, it is necessary to have a detailed medical report which would form the basis of your claim and the compensation you may be awarded. It is best to arrange an appointment with a therapist who would be able to establish the extent of emotional and psychological damage you are suffering as a direct result of suffering sexual abuse at the hands of someone. Determining just how much you may be awarded for psychological damage is more challenging than it is when calculating the level of compensation you may be awarded for the physical injuries you sustained.
Working with a solicitor who specialises in sexual abuse claims has many advantages, one of which is that an appointment to see a medical professional can be arranged if you have not yet been examined.
What are the Long-Term Effects of Physical and Psychological Damage of Sexual Abuse
If you have been the victim of sexual abuse, the long-term effects can seriously and negatively impact your daily life and it could do so for a long time. This would be factored into the level of compensation you may be awarded. Long-term effects of sexual abuse include the following:
- Low self-esteem
- Other mental health issues
You may have to take medication which includes antidepressants to help you contend with the emotional stress and pain you are feeling which could continue over a long period of time with many victims of sexual abuse never fully recovering from their ordeal.
What Can My Claim Include Following Sexual Abuse?
If you were a victim of sexual abuse and have decided to file for compensation, there are specific things that can be included in your claim which are as follows:
- General damages
- Medical expenses incurred
- Travel expenses incurred
- The time it takes you to recover – if you are unable to work during this time, you could be reimbursed for the loss of earnings you incurred
- Care costs should you need help around the home
It is essential that you keep the receipts for all out of pocket expenses you incurred as a direct result of being a victim of sexual abuse as these costs would be factored into a successful sexual abuse claim.
Working With a Solicitor on a No Win No Fee Basis
As with all compensation claims, the legal process of making a sexual abuse claim can be a long-drawn out, complex and stressful experience more especially if you have been a victim of sexual abuse. As such, the best course of action is to seek legal representation as soon as possible. This takes all the financial pressure as well as the anxiety associated with this type of claim, off the table. A solicitor who specialises in sexual abuse claims would walk you through the process and help you when it comes to gathering all the necessary evidence and documentation required to strengthen your case.
Once a solicitor has determined that you have strong case, they would typically offer to work with you on a No Win No Fee basis which in short, means you would sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) which sets out the “Terms and Conditions” of the contract. The agreement also sets out the agreed “success fee” which you would only have to pay for the legal representation you received, when you are awarded compensation on a successful sexual abuse claim. Should your claim not be successful, there would be nothing to pay the solicitor because they agreed to take the “risk” when entering into a Conditional Fee Agreement with you.