When the CICA rejected our client's application for being out of time, Litigation Executive Rachel Thain didn't take 'no' for an answer. Her persistence paid off when the Authority accepted her Appeal and agreed to pay compensation.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority has strict timescales within which they expect a victim of violent crime to bring a CICA claim. So if the crime was reported to the Police when the victim was a child, the victim has until their 20th birthday to make an application to the CICA for compensation. However, in cases of sexual abuse the situation is rarely straightforward and victims are often unable to come forward within the timescale set by the Scheme. The CICA has recognised this by including a provision within the Scheme for the time limit to be extended in exceptional circumstances. In practice however the Authority can often be reluctant to extend time.
A recent CICA claim we dealt with neatly highlights these difficulties. A teenager was sexually abused and was brave enough to report the matter to the Police. Disgracefully, her allegations were not taken seriously and no action was taken at the time. The woman went on to suffer significant mental health difficulties as a result of the abuse.
Some years later other victims came forward who had also suffered sexual abuse from the same man. The Police got in touch with our client, resulting in the perpetrator being convicted of sexual offences against her and a number of other women.
We were subsequently consulted about a CICA claim. We took the view that although the claim was technically out of time, the circumstances were exceptional and the Scheme should accept the late application. Accordingly, Litigation Executive Rachel Thain decided to take the case on, agreeing to pursue the case on the woman's behalf on a No Win - No Fee basis.
An application was submitted to the CICA within 2 years of the Police getting back in touch with our client. However, the Authority decided that as the initial report was made when she was a child the woman should have submitted an application by her 20th birthday. Their decision was reached despite the fact that no further action was taken by the Police at the time. Her application for compensation was therefore rejected as was her subsequent review application.
We felt this was very unfair. Rachel therefore agreed to pursue a formal Appeal, again on a No Win - No Fee basis. She quickly set about obtaining witness evidence and medical evidence. She also brought on board a specialist barrister with a track record of success in CICA cases. He too agreed to work on a No Win - No Fee basis.
The Appeal we are pleased to report was an overwhelming success. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority conceded that exceptional circumstances did indeed apply and agreed that the time limit should be extended. This was a significant victory which means that our client will now be entitled to receive the compensation she deserves for the abuse she suffered as a teenager.
If you have had a CICA application turned down and would like to talk to Rachel about making an Appeal on a No Win - No Fee basis then give our free CICA Helpline a call or drop us an email.