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Sexual Abuse Victims During Coronavirus Lockdown, Could I Claim Compensation?

Unfortunately, it is well reported that sexual abuse still happens in the UK. During the coronavirus lockdown in 2020, it was expected that because more and more people were having to stay home, there could be a surge in cases of sexual abuse against women, men and children. If you have been a sexual abuse victim during lockdown, there is a scheme which could compensate you for any physical or psychological injuries you sustained. During this guide, we’ll look at how the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority scheme works, who can claim against it and how much compensation you could be entitled to.

Sexual abuse victims during coronavirus lockdown compensation claims guide

Sexual abuse victims during coronavirus lockdown compensation claims guide

Legal Expert specialises in helping with personal injury claims as well as claims for criminal injuries. Our specialist advisors can support you through the claims process. They’ll begin by offering a no-obligation assessment of your claim and can provide expert advice on your options. Should your case have a chance of success, you’ll be referred to one of our specialist personal injury lawyers. Every claim they take on is handled on a No Win No Fee basis.

If you would like to discuss your claim right away, please contact an advisor on 0800 073 8804.  Your call will be handled with compassion and in strict confidence. If you’d rather learn more about claiming compensation for sexual abuse before calling, please continue reading.

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A Guide To Claims For Sexual Abuse During Coronavirus

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is a government body which enables victims of violent crime to seek compensation for any psychological and physical injuries they’ve sustained. In most cases, if you’re the victim of sexual abuse during lockdown, you’ll usually claim through the CICA scheme rather than make a personal injury claim against the person responsible for your suffering.

The scheme has a different set of rules to personal injury claims and its own eligibility requirements. Compensation paid by the CICA is usually lower than for personal injury claims as well, but the amounts paid are still designed to help you recover from your injuries.

In this guide, we’ll look at whether there was a surge in cases of sexual abuse during lockdown, the eligibility requirements for making a claim and what compensation you could be entitled to receive.

One of the most important factors in CICA claims is that there is a 2-year time limit for making your claim. This is different from the personal injury claims time limit of 3-years. There are scenarios where the time limit can be extended but we’d advise you to bring your claim as soon as possible. That will provide your solicitor enough time to gather supporting evidence and carry out other tasks required before the claim is submitted.

Legal Expert can support you with the claims process and provide advice on your options. We understand that talking about abuse to a stranger will be difficult. Our specially trained advisors will listen to what’s happened and provide advice without putting any pressure on you to continue at any point. Any advice we provide is free and your call will be treated in confidence. Please call and speak with an advisor today if you’d like further information on claiming compensation after sexual abuse.

What Is Sexual Abuse?

Not all forms of abuse are violent. Many different types of abuse could happen in the home including:

  • Intimidating behaviour including threats.
  • Coercive control.
  • Emotional abuse.
  • Online abuse.
  • Economic abuse.
  • Sexual abuse.

It’s important to state that anybody can be the victim of abuse regardless of their age, race, gender, sexual orientation or background.

Signs Of Sexual Abuse

According to a UK government website, several signs could indicate somebody is being abused. These include:

  • Visible burns, bruises or bite marks.
  • Being stopped from leaving the house.
  • Being pressurised into having sex.
  • Appearing withdrawn or being isolated from family or friends.
  • Being told that it’s your fault that you’re being abused (or you’re overacting).

The government’s advice is that if you spot a sign of abuse, you should let someone know you think something is wrong.

Harm Caused By Sexual Abuse

There are many different effects that can be caused by sexual assault. They can be physical, emotional and psychological and could include:

  • Panic attacks.
  • Deliberate self-harm.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases or infections.
  • Pregnancy as the result of a rape.
  • Sleep disorder.
  • Physical injuries.
  • Attempted suicide.
  • Depression and dissociation.
  • Flashbacks and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Any of the above could be claimed for in a CICA claim. This list is not conclusive so please speak with us and explain how you suffered so we can help you begin your claim.

Statistics – Rates Of Sexual Abuse During The Lockdown

In this section, we’re going to look at media reports containing statistics which indicate a surge in cases of abuse during lockdown.

Early on in the coronavirus lockdown, the BBC ran a report (www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52157620) which showed The National Domestic Abuse helpline had an increase in calls and online enquiries since the pandemic began. The report stated that campaigners had warned that lockdown restrictions could cut off escape routes and heighten domestic tension.

The Guardian online included a report which highlighted figures by a UK project called Counting Dead Women, which identified 16 killings between 23 March and 12 April 2020 which was far higher than normal for that period.

Source: www.theguardian.com/society/2020/apr/15/domestic-abuse-killings-more-than-double-amid-covid-19-lockdown

Sexual Abuse During Domestic Settings

A government report from 2013 showed that 90% of victims of the most serious sexual crimes knew their attacker. That means that cases of sexual abuse in a domestic setting are much more likely than random attacks. This could go some way to explaining the increase in cases reported during lockdown.

If you’ve suffered sexual abuse at home during lockdown, please speak with a member of our team for advice on making a claim.

Sexual Abuse By A Family Member

Sexual abuse by a family member is possible in many different scenarios. It doesn’t have to have happened at home, it could’ve been at a party, on a holiday or while staying at a family member’s home. Again, please speak with us if you’ve suffered or your child has been abused by a family member to see if you’re entitled to claim compensation.

Sexual Abuse By A Husband, Partner Or Spouse

According to the government report referenced earlier, the most common relationship between victims and offenders is where they are partners. That could be a husband, wife, spouse or partner.

Being stuck indoors due to lockdown could’ve had the negative effect of trapping partners together when usually one or both of them would be out during the day at work or carrying out everyday tasks.

We could help you claim for compensation through the CICA scheme if you’ve suffered domestic or sexual abuse during lockdown. Later in this guide, we’ll look at the eligibility requirements for making a claim and what you can include in your claim.

Sexual Abuse Of Children

Sexual abuse of children is considered to be one of the worst crimes imaginable. Not only can it cause devastating physical injuries, but it can also rob the child of their future because of psychological suffering and injuries caused by the abuse.

According to one report by the Office of National Statistics:

  • 5% of adults suffered from sexual abuse before the age of 16.
  • Around 37% of child sexual abuse cases were carried out by somebody known to the child.
  • Most of the children who didn’t report the sexual abuse at the time listed ‘embarrassment’ as the reason.

If your child has been sexually abused during lockdown, a parent or responsible adult could raise a claim on their behalf. We can help you with this process to try and ensure your child gets as much compensation as they are entitled to. Please call one of our specialists for free advice on beginning a claim.

If you don’t claim on behalf of your child, they’re able to do it themselves once they turn 18 in line with the normal CICA eligibility requirements.

Sexual Abuse In The Workplace

Sexual abuse in the workplace is protected by the Equality Act 2010. If you are sexually abused while at work, you have a couple of options:

  • Claim through CICA for your injuries.
  • Claim against your employer at an employment tribunal if they were aware of the abuse but didn’t take action to prevent it.

We could help you claim in either situation so please get in touch with a member of our team to explain what happened. They’ll provide free advice on each process and could refer you to a solicitor who’ll be able to take your claim forward on a No Win No Fee basis.

CICA Claims For Sexual Abuse

The main criteria for claiming sexual abuse through the CICA scheme are:

  • You reported the crime to the police.
  • That the crime against you happened within the last 2-years.
  • You cooperate fully with CICA and the police.

Importantly, to make a successful claim, the perpetrator doesn’t have to have been convicted by a court. The CICA will review the case themselves based on the balance of probabilities and don’t need to wait for a court hearing when there is enough evidence to support your case.

As mentioned, there is a 2-year time limit for making CICA claims. However, in some cases this can be extended when:

  • There were exceptional circumstances which prevented the claim from being made earlier.
  • Enough evidence was supplied as part of the claim to allow it to be determined without further extensive investigation.

If you do need to claim outside of the 2-year time limit, we could help you provide evidence regarding why you were unable to proceed earlier. Please call and explain what’s happened so that we can provide free advice on your options.

For cases against children, if the crime was reported before you were 18 but no claim was made, you can begin a claim before your 20th birthday. If the crime wasn’t reported until after you were 18, you have 2-years to claim from the date you reported the crime to the police.

How The Physical And Mental Injuries Caused By Sexual Abuse Are Assessed

Any injury you claim for, whether it is physical or psychological, will need to be assessed by a medical professional. This might be a specialist doctor, psychiatrist or psychologist. As part of the claims process, our solicitors will try to arrange these assessments locally where possible.

Calculating Compensation For Sexual Abuse Victims During Coronavirus Lockdown

When you make a claim as a sexual abuse victim during lockdown, the first part of your claim will be for the pain and suffering caused. This is called general damages and can cover both physical and psychological injuries. As each claim is unique, instead of a personal injury claims calculator, we’ve provided the table below with example compensation amounts for guidance. When you’ve spoken with a member of our team, and your claim has been assessed, we should be able to provide you with a more accurate compensation estimate.

Claim TypeCompensationDetails
Physical Abuse - Adults£2,000Intermittent physical assaults causing healed wounds, burns and scalds with no physical disfigurement.
Physical Abuse - Adults£5,000A pattern of severe repetitive abusive violence resulting in minor disfigurement.
Physical Abuse - Children£1,000Intermittent physical assaults causing healed wounds, burns and scalds with no physical disfigurement.
Physical Abuse - Children£2,000A pattern of severe repetitive abusive violence resulting in minor disfigurement.
Sexual Assault (all ages)£1,000Minor non-penetrative sexual act over clothing.
Sexual Assault (all ages)£2,000Serious non-penetrative sexual assault under clothing.
Sexual Assault (all ages)£6,600Pattern or repeated severe frequent abuse over a period of 3-years or less
Sexual Assault (all ages)£6,600Pattern or repeated severe frequent abuse over a period of over 3-years or less
Sexual Assault (all ages)£22,000Pattern or repeated severe frequent abuse causing serious internal bodily injuries.
Sexual Assault (all ages)£27,000Sexual assault causing a severe mental illness confirmed by a psychiatric prognosis.

The figures in the above table are based on the CICA’s tariff of injuries

As part of the claims process, our solicitors will provide as much evidence as possible to demonstrate any injuries you’ve sustained. If an assessment by a medical specialist or psychiatrist is required, then it will be arranged as locally as possible to save you having to travel too far. They’ll produce a report which will provide details of what suffering has been caused, how it has affected you and whether you’re likely to suffer in the future.

Special Damages Victims Of Sexual Abuse Could Claim

As well as claiming for injuries caused by the sexual abuse against you, it’s possible to include some expenses you’ve incurred within the CICA claim. Importantly, the CICA will only pay for items or services that can’t be obtained through other services like the NHS or the benefits system. All expenses you claim for must be necessary, reasonable and incurred as a direct result of the crime against you.

Some of the special expenses payments available through the CICA include:

  • Lost Earnings.
    If you’ve lost income, or the capacity to earn for more than 28-weeks, you can ask for it to be considered in your claim. If successful, the special expenses related to lost earnings will be paid from the date of the actual injury.
  • Damaged Property.
    You can claim for any property that you use as a personal aid which was damaged in the crime against you. For instance, you could claim for a walking stick, dentures or spectacles.
  • Medical Expenses.
    You could also claim for any costs that you incur during treatment performed by the NHS. This could cover the cost of prescriptions.
  • Special Equipment.
    This can include physical aids, wheelchairs, adapted vehicles and kitchen implements that are required as a result of your injuries.
  • Home Adaptations.
    If your injuries leave you with a disability, changes to the inside or outside of your home that improve your independence or ability to move around could be claimed for.

Evidence Required

Claiming for special expenses through the CICA scheme can be quite complex as they have to ensure that anything you claim for isn’t available through other schemes. This might mean you have to supply a copy of your local authority assessment of needs document. To ensure you file the claim correctly, why not speak with a member of our team to see if one of our specialist solicitors could help you claim on a No Win No Fee basis.

No Win No Fee Claims For Sexual Abuse During Coronavirus Lockdown

We know that claiming for sexual abuse during the coronavirus lockdown is going to be tough for you. That’s before you start to worry about the costs involved with making the claim. Therefore, to reduce stress and give you crucial access to justice, our personal injury solicitors handle any claim on a No Win No Fee basis.

That means:

  • You don’t need to make an upfront payment so your claim can begin right away.
  • There are no solicitor’s fees to pay while your claim is ongoing.
  • If the solicitor fails to win your case, you won’t have to pay their fees.

If the case is won, your solicitor will retain a small percentage of your compensation to cover their costs. Your No Win No Fee agreement (or Conditional Fee Agreement) will explain what success fee you’ll pay so there won’t be any surprises. Also, you won’t need to worry too much as success fees are legally capped.

Please contact a member of our team to find out whether you’re eligible to claim using our No Win No Fee service.

Why Choose Us For A Sexual Abuse Claim?

The situation with the coronavirus lockdown is new to us all but our team of personal injury lawyers have been handling claims relating to sexual abuse for many decades. Here’s some more information about how Legal Expert could help you:

  • Our advisors can give you free legal advice on beginning a claim.
  • Your claim will be handled in confidence and your solicitor will handle all communication with the CICA.
  • You’ll receive regular updates from your solicitor throughout the claim.
  • Your solicitor will act as swiftly as possible to avoid any delays in processing your claim.
  • They’ll also work hard to try and ensure you are compensated fully for your suffering.

Please contact us when you’re ready if you require more information about how we could help.

Start Your Claim

We understand that claiming as a sexual abuse victim during lockdown will be difficult, so we have a number of ways for you to get in touch. You can:

We can discuss your claim 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. Our advisors will treat your call in confidence, with compassion and provide free legal advice on your options. If there’s a chance your claim could be successful, they’ll refer you to one of our specialist personal injury solicitors who’ll handle your claim on a No Win No Fee basis.

Essential References

This is the final section of this guide about claiming as a sexual abuse victim during lockdown. To provide more help and support, we’ve linked to some more useful guides and services below.

The Survivors Trust – A charity whose member agencies provide services like support, counselling and advocacy services for victims of sexual abuse.

Coronavirus Advice – The latest advice from the government on all aspect of its COVID-19 strategy.

Support After Sexual Assault And Rape – A guide on advice and support available from the NHS and other services.

Sexual Harassment At Work – This guide explains what sexual harassment is and when you could claim compensation.

Historical Sex Abuse Claims – Information on when you might be able to claim for suffering caused by historical sex abuse.

Rape Victim Claims – Guidance on making a claim through the CICA for the suffering caused by rape.

 

Guide by Hambridge

Edited by Billing

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