How To Claim Compensation For Sexual Abuse By A Family Member

By Olivia Jess. Last updated 19th March 2021. Welcome to our guide on how to claim compensation for sexual abuse by a family member.

This guide is designed for adults and children who have suffered sexual abuse by a family member and wish to claim compensation for the subsequent damage they suffered. Sexual abuse and rapes are some of the most serious and unacceptable crimes a person can commit. The abuser being a family member, who was supposed to care for their victim, makes the matter all the more distressing. At Legal Helpline, we understand that no amount of money can undo the terrible wrong that was done to you by your abuser. However, claiming compensation from the perpetrator, a local authority that failed to protect you, or the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) could provide you with funds to help you rebuild your life, as well as holding those who mistreated you or failed to intervene accountable for their actions.

If you are a sexual abuse survivor who wishes to claim compensation for familial sexual abuse, call Legal Helpline today to speak to an advisor. Our advisors are trained to handle your enquiry in a sensitive and professional manner. If we can see that you have legitimate grounds to claim compensation, we will provide you with an experienced solicitor to pursue your claim. We promise that your solicitor will fight tooth and nail to win you the highest amount of compensation you could be entitled to. You will also have the option to make a No Win No Fee claim for compensation, so you won’t have to pay an upfront fee.

To begin your claim, call Legal Helpline today on 0161 6969 685 for your free consultation. Alternatively, use our online claims form to get in contact with us. If we can see that you are owed compensation for sexual abuse or childhood sexual abuse by a family member, we will give you all the support and advice you need to claim compensation.

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A Guide On Claiming For Sexual Abuse By A Family Member

You can claim compensation for sexual abuse by a family member

You can claim compensation for sexual abuse by a family member

Whether you’re a child or an adult, if you experienced sexual abuse at the hands of a family member, you may be entitled to seek justice and claim compensation. People who have suffered sexual abuse or rape are often left with traumatic injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental health issues that may affect their day-to-day lives. They may also suffer from physical injuries as a result of the abuse.

If you find yourself in this situation, this guide will explain how you can claim compensation for sexual abuse by a family member for physical and psychological injuries that you’ve been left with. The compensation could pay for the counselling you may need to come to terms with your traumatic injuries, as well as other expenses you may have as a result of the abuse. If you are a sexual abuse survivor who wishes to seek justice for being abused by a family member, call Legal Helpline today to speak to an advisor.

Alternatively, use our online claims form to tell us about your ordeal. If we can see that you are eligible to claim compensation, we can put you in touch with a solicitor from our panel to handle your claim with the utmost sensitivity and respect. Call us today, we’re looking forward to hearing from you.

What Is Sexual Abuse In A Family

Sexual abuse is any unwanted sexual activity that is forced upon another person without their consent. Sexual abuse between family members is incredibly distressing. Often familial child sexual abuse is an incident in which an adult takes advantage of a child, but it can also involve child on child abuse. There are also incidents when adults in the same family may abuse each other, such as instances of sibling abuse or intermarital rape. 

Sexual abuse can include rape, inappropriate touching and groping, forced prostitution, forcing someone to take part in or look at pornographic videos and photographs, and female genital mutilation (FGM), amongst other offences. Sexual abuse of an adult or a child is one of the most serious crimes a person can commit, and those who engage in such activities, deserve to be punished accordingly.

How common is child sexual abuse? Sadly, sexual abuse of children is a reasonably prevalent problem in society. The Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW) estimates that 7.5% of adults aged 18-74 were sexually abused before the age of 16. And in the year ending March 2019, 73,260 crimes of a sexual nature were recorded in England and Wales, where the victim was a child.

However, rather than brushing such abuse under the carpet, you could claim compensation for sexual abuse by a family member once you feel ready to come forward. To find out more on how to do so, please continue reading.

Familial Sexual Abuse Symptoms

General tell-tale signs of child abuse include a child acting withdrawn, seeming angry, showing signs of depression or anxiety, not going to school or in especially unfortunate cases, self-harming. If a child or young person below the age of 18 is displaying any of these symptoms, they may be signs that they are being abused. Other symptoms could involve:

  • They behave in a sexual way or know the sexual language that is inappropriate for their age.
  • They are pregnant or have a sexually transmitted infection.
  • They make inappropriate sexual contact with other children.
  • They say things which openly state or imply that they have been sexually abused.

Some adults might see this behaviour from children and assume the child is “badly brought up”. However, if you are an adult that has seen this behaviour, it is important to try not to judge the child, but assume the child may need help. Trust your instincts in such situations; if you see something that doesn’t sit right with you, follow it up accordingly. That could be reporting it to their teacher, the police or even an organisation equipt to deal with child abuse NSPCC.

Am I Being Sexually Abused By A Family Member?

If a family member engages in unwanted sexual behaviour with you or behaves in a sexual way that makes you feel uncomfortable (for example flashing), even seemingly small incidents are considered sexual abuse. To see how you could claim compensation for sexual abuse by a family member, please read on.

Is Someone Else Being Abused By A Family Member?

It may be hard to believe, but someone who is sexually abusing a family member may be able to hide the abuse from other members of the household. If you can spot signs of abuse, don’t be afraid to seek help.

If you are being sexually abused, or you believe a child or an adult you know is being sexually abused, it is important to speak up and report the abuse, so the victim can be protected from their abuser.

Types Of Sexual Violence And Abuse In Families

Sexual abuse in the family can happen in person or online. Either way, the victim could be able to claim compensation for sexual abuse by a family member. Here are some examples of how someone can be sexually abused:

  • Rape or penetration using an object, by force.
  • Inappropriate touching and forced kissing.
  • Forcing a child to undress or touch another person.
  • Forcing a person to prostitute themselves, or sharing a child for sex.
  • Distributing indecent videos or images of a child.
  • Forcing a child to watch pornography

Injuries Resulting From Sexual Abuse By A Family Member

Unfortunately, sexual abuse by a family member can result in physical and traumatic injuries that can last a lifetime. If you have been the victim of sexual abuse in the family, you may also suffer from long-term psychological problems.

Traumatic Injuries Suffered By Abuse Victims

As a result of being sexually abused, a child or adult may suffer physical injuries. This can include becoming infected with an STD or damage to the genitals or anus from being penetrated violently. Victims can also suffer injuries associated with violent abuse, such as cuts and bruises, broken or fractured bones, whiplash and head injuries.

Victims could be able to claim compensation for sexual abuse by a family member, meaning the psychological trauma they’re left with could be compensated. 

PTSD And Psychological Injuries Suffered By Abuse Victims

Adults and children who have been sexually abused can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychological condition often associated with soldiers that have witnessed the horrors of war. PTSD is a condition which develops because of a traumatic event. As a result, the person can experience anxiety, flashbacks to the traumatic event, nightmares, repetitive distressing sensations and physical symptoms such as trembling, sweating and feeling sick. If PTSD goes untreated it can be a long-term problem.

Compensation Calculator For Sexual Abuse By A Family Member Claims

If you claim compensation for sexual abuse by a family member, who will you make a claim against? 

In some cases, the claim is made directly against the perpetrator, if they have enough funds to pay for the compensation out of their own pocket. In other cases, the victim may make their claim against their Local Authority, if it can be proven that they were aware of the abuse, or signs of abuse, and failed to take adequate steps to protect the child.

If your claim is against the perpetrator or your local authority, you can use our rape victim compensation calculator to estimate how much compensation you could be owed. The compensation amounts in this table are taken from the Judicial College Guidelines, a legal publication used by claimants and defendants to value claims. The table does not include any special damages you may be able to claim.

Type Of Psychiatric InjuryNotes About This InjuryPossible Compensation
ModerateModerate psychiatric injuries may present with symptoms which are similar in presentation to work-related stress. How much compensation which you may be awarded will depend on the prognosis as well as the level of improvement.£5,500 -
£17,900
Moderately SevereHow much compensation may be awarded will depend on the extent of the harm caused and the potential for recovery. Whilst awards may be made at the top or bottom of the band, more tend to be closer to the middle. £17,900 -
£51,460
SevereHow much the victim can cope with life and education as well as how severely these have been afffected will determin how much compensation is paid out. The overall prognosis for the claimants recovery will be 'poor'.£51,460 -
£108,620

If you are not able to claim compensation from the above parties, you may be able to claim compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). In the table below, you can find some guideline payment amounts taken from the CICA Tariff 2012. This table does not include special expenses you may also be entitled to claim.

Abuse TypesAbuse SeverityNotes On ThisPossible Settlement
Child AbuseMinor child abuseMinor instances which are either intermittent or are isolated. The victim may have minor injuries.£1,000
Child AbuseSerious child abuseChild abuse which results in victims having accumulated wounds (including scalds and burns) from which are now healed.£2,000
Child AbuseSevere child abuseCould include a severe or persistent pattern of violence. The victim may have multiple injuries which fall into the categories of moderate, significant or severe.moderate - £5,500
Significant - £8,200
Severe - £13,500
Physical AbuseSerious abuseThe abuse was physical but not contant (intermittent). The victim may have various injuries from which they have recovered.£2,000
Physical AbuseSevere abseMore severe forms of physical abuse than the above categories.£5,500
Sexual Assaultn/aSexual assaults incuding physical/ oral acts outside the clothing£1,000
Sexual AssaultSeriousSerious (non-penile) acts of penetration / or genital-oral acts.£2,000
Sexual AssaultSevereSevere (non-penile) acts of penetration / or genital-oral acts.£3,000
Non-consensual penetration of the victim.Single attackerIncluding (non-consensual) penetration of the of the mouth, vagina or anus.£11,000
Non-consensual penetration of the victim.Two or more attackersIncluding non-consensual penetration of the of the mouth, anus or vagina.£13,500
Non-consensual penetration of the victim.Serious internal injuriesIncluding (non-consensual) penetration of the of the mouth, anus or vagina, resulting in serious internal injuries.£22,000
Non-consensual penetration of the victim.Moderate mental illnessIncluding (non-consensual) penetration of the of the mouth, anus or vagina, resulting in mental illness.£22,000
Non-consensual penetration of the victim.Moderate mental illnessResulting in disabling mental illness.£22,000
Non-consensual penetration of the victim.Severe mental illnessResulting in disabling mental illness.£27,000
Non-consensual penetration of the victim.Moderate mental illnessResulting in disabling mental illness.£33,000
Non-consensual penetration of the victim.Severe mental illness£44,000
Non-consensual penetration of the victim.Repeated incidents up to 3 yearsThe victim has suffered repeated attacks over a period of three years or less. There may be more than one attacker.£16,000
Non-consensual penetration of the victim.Repeated incidents exceeding 3 yearsRepeated incidents of non-consensual penetration over a period of three years or more. There may be one attacker or more.£22,000

The amount of compensation listed in the rape victim compensation calculator is an approximate amount for different physical and psychological injuries. For an accurate estimate of how much you could claim based on your personal circumstances, call us today to speak to a claims specialist.

Could I Claim Special Damages Or Special Expenses?

If you succeed in being able to claim compensation for sexual abuse by a family member, you could be awarded two heads of claim: general damages and special damages. Let’s look at what these are in more detail:

  • General damages are compensation for the pain and suffering and loss of amenity, caused by the claimant’s injuries. The compensation calculator section above outlines potential payments for general damages.
  • Special damages are intended to compensate the claimant for any financial losses or out of pocket expenses they have experienced, including medical expenses, travel expenses, temporary accommodation expenses if they had to leave the family home, and reimbursement for loss of income. Many people who claim compensation for childhood sexual abuse by a family member claim expenses for counselling, which can help them come to terms with their traumatic experiences.

If you make a claim through the CICA, you may also be able to claim special expenses. These are reimbursements for expenses the claimant incurred as a result of their injuries.

Steps To Take If You Have Been Abused By A Family Member

If you have just experienced intra-familial child sexual abuse or have been sexually assaulted or raped, you can do the following to help support your compensation claim:

  • Keep the clothing that you were wearing at the time, as it could be used as forensic evidence.
  • Try not to shower. Although this may be one of the first things you feel the need to do, there may be evidence on your body that the police can use to convict the perpetrator.

If you wish to claim compensation for sexual abuse by a family member which happened in the recent past, or historic sexual abuse which has been reported to the police, evidence from the police investigation can be used by your solicitor to help to build your case.

Finding a solicitor to represent your claim means that you will have a knowledgeable legal expert to advise you and represent you as your case unfolds. To begin your claim, contact Legal Helpline today by calling the number at the top of this page or by using our online claims form.

Reporting Your Abuse And Abuser

If you have been raped or sexually abused, please report the crime as soon as possible. It is hard to reach out for help after a harrowing event but it is important to do so. Don’t be afraid that you will be dismissed; police take these sorts of allegations very seriously. The main priority is your safety. If you or someone else is in immediate danger, dial 999. You can also dial 999 to report a rape or incident of sexual abuse that has already happened, ideally as soon as possible after the event. We also recommend seeking the appropriate medical treatment in case an STI was transmitted or to investigate whether you are pregnant.

If you do not feel comfortable reporting the sexual assault or rape to the police, there are many organisations that can offer you support, including CRISIS which offers support for women and girls, and Victim Support which offers support to male and female victims. There are other organisations which can help you, which we will list at the bottom of this guide.

If you are a child or young person who is at school, you can tell your teacher about the sexual abuse in the family that you have suffered and they will be able to take steps to help support you.

How Long Do Sexual Abuse Survivors Have To Claim Compensation?

If you are going to claim compensation for sexual abuse by a family member against the perpetrator or a local authority, you will have 3 years from the incident took place to begin your claim. This is because there is a compensation claims time limit. If the victim was a child at the time of the abuse, they will have three years after their 18th birthday in which to make the claim.

However, victims of sexual abuse often don’t come forward after the assault has taken place. This could be because of feelings of shame, embarrassment or fear that speaking up will have repercussions for them. Abusers are often very manipulative people who will make the victim feel like the abuse is their fault or threaten the victim (for example, saying they will hurt another family member), if the victim tells anyone else about the abuse. Because of this, courts may allow claims for historic abuse, that happened longer than three years ago, to proceed. This can be a delicate matter, so if you wish to claim compensation for historic abuse, call Legal Helpline to speak to an advisor about your ordeal.

The majority of victims of sexual violence make a compensation claim through the CICA. If you make a claim for compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, you will need to have reported the crime in the last 2 years.

How Litigation Friends May Support Sexual Abuse Survivors To Claim

If a person is under 18 or is of limited mental capacity, a litigation friend can be appointed to claim compensation for sexual abuse by a family member on their behalf. What does this mean? 

The appointed litigation friend will act on the claimant’s behalf. A litigation friend is usually assigned by a court, or a person that knows the claimant can apply to be a litigation friend. If the compensation is awarded to a child, they will be able to access the funds when they turn 18. The child may be able to access some funds before the age of 18, for example, to pay for any medical care they may be in need of.

How Could Legal Helpline Help Victims Of Child Abuse Claim Compensation

If you are a survivor of sexual abuse or child abuse in the family environment, we understand that making a No Win No Fee claim is a form of seeking justice and a very brave thing to do. If you choose to make your claim with Legal Helpline, we will make it our priority to push for you to get the maximum amount of compensation you could be owed. A solicitor will be dedicated to advising you and negotiating on your behalf to get you the best payout possible and you will also have the option to make a No Win No Fee claim.

No Win No Fee Claims For Sexual Abuse By A Family Member

At Legal Helpline, we believe everyone should get equal access to justice. This means that we have an option for our clients where no upfront solicitors fees are required in order to claim, nor are any fees during the claim too. If you want to claim compensation for sexual abuse by a family member, please don’t hesitate to get in touch today.

If you make a No Win No Fee claim and it does not succeed, your solicitor will not seek to charge you any fees. If your case is a success, your solicitor may seek a small percentage of the compensation awarded to cover their costs. This deduction is known as a success fee. Success fees are capped by law, so you won’t have to worry about giving away lots of your compensation.  This method makes it a more affordable option for many of our clients. Because you will only have to pay your fee if your claim is successful, making a No Win No Fee claim involves less financial risk than other ways to claim.

Speak To Legal Helpline About Your Claim

If you have suffered a traumatic injury or psychological injury, including PTSD, due to sexual assault in the family, trust Legal Helpline to handle your compensation claim. Call us today on 0161 6969 685, or use our online claims form to reach us.

Support For Victims Of Familial Abuse

External Resources

If you are a child who has been raped or sexually abused or an adult who is concerned about a child, you can contact the NSPCC helplines for support.

Rape Crisis provides help and support for women and girls who have experienced sexual violence.

Victim Support, offer support to anyone who has been affected by a violent crime.

Helpful Resources

You may find some of these other Legal Helpline guides helpful.

Thank you for reading our guide on how to claim compensation for sexual abuse by a family member. 

Guide by HE

Edited by REG