Compensation for victims of abuse - a case study of a historic abuse claim

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 15:50 -- Slee Blackwell

Rachel Thain is a lawyer specialising in claiming compensation for victims of abuse. In this short case study Rachel looks at a historic abuse claim where the victim received compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority many years after the abuse took place.

We are often asked to investigate historic cases of sex abuse. People often assume that because the abuse took place many years ago it is not possible to recover compensation, but that isn't correct. While strict limitation periods apply in many areas of law, sex abuse compensation claims are one of the exceptions, with victims of historic abuse still being entitled to seek justice despite the passage of time. It does howver remain a highly technical area of law, so it is vitally important to speak to an expert lawyer as early as you can.

In this case the abuse had taken place in the 1960's.

Our client had been placed in the care of his local authority at a very young age. He remained in care until adulthood. He was sent to live in a residential reform school in the 1960's and lived there for around 3 years. During his time at the school, he suffered serious sexual abuse at the hands of a housemaster. The abuse had a significant effect on our client. As with so many victims of abuse he felt unable to confront what had occured or discuss it with anybody. Consequently he kept his experiences bottled up for many years.

When other victims of his abuser came forward our client finally found the confidence to speak to the Police and disclose what had happened to him.

Having confronted his past our client then felt able to seek legal advice. He approached us for assistance and we were able to offer free guidance on a confidential basis. This included advice about the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) which exists to compensate victims of violent crime, including sex abuse. Once he had spoken to us he felt confident about pursuing a claim and asked us to help him seek compensation from the CICA on a no win - no fee basis.

We liaised with the Police and obtained the information required to pursue the CICA claim. An application was therefore prepared on our client’s behalf and submitted to the Authority.

On consideration of the evidence put forward in the application (includuing a report obtained from the Police) the CICA Authority was satisfied the strict eligibility criteria of the Scheme were met, despite the fact that the abuse had taken place 50 years earlier. This resulted in an award of compensation being offered which our client was very happy to accept.

Making the claim assisted our client in achieving closure. He had carried the burden of his abuse for many years and had for decades felt unable to report what happened. The Police involved in the criminal investigation were very supportive of our client and played an important role in helpling him to confront his past. 

As we were able to work on a no win - no fee basis, our client was able to take advantage of our specialist experience in cases of this nature to achieve the best possible outcome. The compensation he received will not of course make up for what he had endured, but it did prove very helpful to him in at a key stage of his life.

If you require assistance in seeking compensation as a victim of abuse then you can call our FREE and CONFIDENTIAL legal helpline on 0800 037 8020 or email us at


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