Our client suffered prolonged sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather. The abuse began when she was just 11 years old and continued throughout the remainder of her childhood. The abuse escalated until our client was regularly being raped by her stepfather from the age of 15. When our client became an adult the abuse continued as she had been groomed and coerced to such a degree by her stepfather that she was unable to escape. The abuse therefore continued until our client was about 25 years old. Our client’s child was fathered by her stepfather.
Her brother eventually discovered the abuse and with his support our client was able to report her stepfather to the police. Following the police investigation her stepfather was prosecuted, facing 19 criminal charges.
At trial the stepfather was convicted and sentenced to serve a substantial custodial sentence.
Our client instructed us to pursue a rape victim compensation scheme claim against the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). This is a government funded compensation scheme for rape victims and other innocent victims of sexual abuse and violent crime. We were able to bring the compensation scheme claim for our client on a No Win, No Fee basis so there was no financial risk to her.
The CICA compensation scheme has strict eligibility criteria, including the requirement that claims must be submitted within 2 years of the crime being committed. Where the victim of the crime is a child at the time and there is no police involvement until adulthood then the application for compensation should be submitted within 2 years of the report to the police.
In this case our client was well outside the stipulated time limit. We therefore obtained medical evidence from our client’s GP and counsellor to show that she felt unable to seek legal advice or make her compensation scheme application earlier because of the psychological effects of the rapes and sexual abuse and the subsequent criminal trial. We argued that the CICA should therefore apply its discretion to extend the standard time limit due to exceptional circumstances.
Fortunately the CICA accepted our arguments and allowed her rape victim compensation scheme claim to proceed.
Our client subsequent received a substantial award of compensation.
She was happy with the outcome saying, “It is more than enough to get me and my children where we want to be. I have been through so much and this is the end of the chapter for me. Thank you so much for all of your help”.
If you are the victim of rape or sexual abuse and wish to make a compensation scheme claim, then phone 0800 037 8020 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember, you may be able to bring a rape victim compensation scheme claim even if the assault occurred many years ago and you are outside the standard time limits under the scheme. we operate a free legal helpline, so if you are in any doubt then give us a call.