The story of one abuse survivor and CICA claimant
Brian Mynott, an abuse survivor and author of the book 'Just Once, When I Was Little', made a successful claim for compensation under the CICA scheme. In this short article Brian shares some of his thoughts on those experiences.
When Brian Mynott first heard that the iniquitous CICA 'same roof' rule was to change he was elated that justice could now be done, and all those doubters in his life would finally realise that it was not 'all in his head'.
Brian had been abused as a child, but seeking justice for what had occurred all those years ago was a long and traumatic process. Brian encoutered obstacles and open hostility along the way; One psychiatrist had even labelled him as a fantasist. Brian also had to contend with the unfairness on the 'same roof' rule which for many years denied CICA compensation to those who had been abused or assaulted by a member of their own family living under the same roof. It took many years of campaigning for that rule to be repealed, allowing people like Brian to finally claim the compensation they had been denied.
So, making a succesful CICA claim and gaining public recognition of what he had been through was very important to Brian. Even though later in life he became a qualified trauma counsellor, the emotions he felt when he started his CICA claim were confusing and strong. The CICA claim itself proceeded fairly quickly. However the emotional surge he felt when he opened the letter from the CICA caused many issues to resurface and took him several months to resolve.
One thing that Brian learnt from this experience was that he had made a mistake in dealing with the application himself, without any support or guidance from a lawyer. As Brian says,
"If I could 'turn back time' my first move would be to engage a good law firm with experience and understanding of the complexities of working with victims of sex crimes, CSA historic, or ongoing. Had I done this I would have had a 'buffer' between myself and the the CICA and not felt so isolated and would have been better prepared when the claim was concluded."
"Even I, a retired professional having supported 100's of victims of CSA and sex crimes over the last two decades, found the emotional journey of it all almost overwhelming. I would advise anyone looking to start the CICA process, to seek good advice and guidance. I have now found a deeper level of closure to events that happened over 60 years ago. The last part of the journey that gave me that closure was emotionally painful, but I would not hesitate in doing it all again. However I would seek legal advice to guide and support me along the way. No matter what the outcome of a CICA claim, you will need it."
Brian wrote Just Once, When I Was Little to give people with no experience of sexual violence and the devastation it can bring to a childhood some understanding of the life of a child born into privation, sexual violence and terror. "I have found that the best way for someone to understand what a child goes through and the impact their experiences will have on them many years later, was to take them there through my writing."
On a positive note Brian feels that, at last, things are slowly changing and that the stigma of being a victim of childhood abuse and sex crimes in general, is disappearing. "I have witnessed these changes. I rtemember that when I was a child, no one ever spoke about child abuse and have vivid memories of being shunned by everyone, including close family members for no other reason than I was a victim. There were no such things as interventions or support workers in those days."
Brian is therefore pleased that law firms are reaching out to clients via the media. "Victims of SV," he says, "have the same, if not more, right to claim compensation than someone who has, for instance, tripped over a kerb."
But while Brian was able to obtain CICA compensation, the 'same roof rule' continues to cause problems for other victims of historic abuse. "Many victims are yet to learn that historic abuse law has changed regarding the 'same roof' law," he says, "and they deserve to know."
Specialist abuse lawyer, Rachel Thain, agrees and is lobbying for the 12 June 2021 deadline for claims to be extended and for the change in the law to be more widely publicised.
For further information about making a CICA claim call our free confidential legal helpline on 0808 139 1597