We specialise in abuse compensation and operate a very popular website dedicated to this area which you can visit at www.abusecompensation.co.uk
The Government's criminal injuries compensation scheme, the CICA, provides compensation to children who have been sexually or physically abused. This includes domestic abuse.
As specialists in abuse law and members of ACAL (the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers) we always recommend that a CICA claim is considered alongside a civil claim for compensation. CICA claims can be easier to pursue and because the scheme is Government backed an award is not dependent on the defendant having sufficient assets or insurance to meet a judgement. However, the amount of compensation awarded by the CICA tends to be lower than awards in civil claims. It is therefore important to take specialist legal advice.
The basic rules of the scheme specify that victims have until their 20th birthday to make a CICA claim where a report was made to the police before they turned 18. However, as explained elsewhere on this site time limits can be extended, particularly where child abuse is involved. If the incident or period of abuse took place before the victim turned 18 and was not reported to the police at the time, the CICA will consider the claim if it is made within two years of the matter being reported to the police. The CICA acknowledges that a victim of child abuse may not have felt able to report the incident for some time after the abuse took place, though they do insist on the victim making a formal report to the police before compensation can be considered.
There is also the recent ruling in R (on the application of CICA) v First-Tier Tribunal (CIC) & MB. This allowed a victim of historic abuse to bring a claim that was origibally rejected in 1997.
Our advice to anyone considering a child abuse claim is to take specialist legal advice as early as possible and not to be put off by any delays that may have occurred. we have expert lawyers who will be more than happy to chat things through with you and offer guidance on a free of charge basis.
The CICA itself recommends that applications on behalf of children should be made as early as possible. The reason for this is that it may be harder to provide evidence of injury if the claim is delayed.
The compensation paid to victims of child abuse is calculated in accordance with the CICA's own tariff. This takes into account situations where there has been a persistent pattern of repetitive violence, as well as one-off incidents.
Medical evidence in child abuse cases is generally required and often takes the form of a psychiatric assessment where there has been mental injury. We will also look at whether the abuse has affected the victim's schooling or career prospects. It may involve an educational psychologist being asked to prepare a report. This is important because the loss of earnings element of a CICA abuse case can frequently be the largest part of the claim and even greater than the award of compensation for the injuries.
If you have suffered physical or sexual abuse as a child, or you are caring for a child who has been abused then give our free legal helpline a call on freephone 0808 139 1597 or e-mail us.