A Guide To Sexual Abuse Claims

By Richard Robinson. Last Updated 27th January 2021. Welcome to our guide to sexual abuse claims. Sexual abuse or assault is unfortunately not uncommon in the UK and can happen to anyone regardless of age or gender, men, woman, the elderly, young children, teenagers and sadly even babies can all be victims of sexual abuse. If you have been sexually abused or assaulted, you may be eligible to make a claim for sexual abuse compensation.

Although filing for compensation for sexual abuse will not be the first thing you think of if you have suffered sexual abuse, it is important to get the compensation you are entitled to. Successfully claiming compensation can help cover any financial costs you may have encountered that have been a direct result of your sexual abuse and so lessen any financial strains you may be experiencing especially if you haven’t been able to work due to the distress and suffering you are going through.

Legal Helpline has an experienced panel of solicitors that possess great experience in handling sexual abuse claims. If you’d like to discuss your case and find out if you are eligible to claim compensation, just call us here at Legal Helpline on 0161 696 9685 and we can arrange a free, confidential consultancy session with one of our specialist personal injury solicitors.

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Sexual abuse claims guide

If you have been the victim of sexual abuse, you may be contemplating claiming sexual abuse compensation. Regardless of whether it happened when you were a child or during your adult years, if someone has wronged you in this way, claiming compensation should certainly be something you should look into, after all, why should you be left to suffer from the consequences of having to pay medical expenses or counselling costs for example, due to something that someone else did to you, it was not your fault and so you shouldn’t have to deal with any financial worries on top of dealing with the physical and psychological pain you have been left with. Claiming compensation for sexual abuse and assault can unfortunately never take away the pain and suffering you have endured but it can help with the financial burden of the costs of your recovery, especially if you have been unable to work so that you can focus on healing yourself rather than stressing about money.

This guide has lots of information regarding compensation for sexual abuse claims to hopefully answer most, if not all, of the questions you may have about what you need to do to start your claim, what happens during the claiming process and how much you may be awarded. Have a read through the guide and if you have more questions or would like us to conduct your claim on your behalf, just give us a call.

What is the legal definition of sexual abuse?

If somebody makes unwanted sexual advances towards you, then this is called sexual abuse. If they made sexual advances towards you using force, it is sexual assault.

There are two main types of sexual abuse, contact abuse and non-contact abuse:

Contact Abuse – This is where there is physical contact between the victim and their abuser. The following can be classed as contact abuse:

  • Being sexually touched on the body even if fully clothed.
  • Rape or penetration where a sex organ or other object is inserted into another’s mouth, vagina or anus.
  • Forcing another person or child to watch or partake in sexual acts.
  • Forcing another person or child to undress.
  • Forcing another person or child to touch themselves or someone else in private body areas.

Non-Contact Abuse – This type of abuse is where sexual activities do not include actual touching. Examples are:

  • Forcing someone through a threat or promise to listen to or watch sexual acts.
  • Forcing someone through a threat or promise to watch pornography.

Examples of non-contact abuse involving children also include:

  • Grooming of children.
  • Persuading children to hear or watch sexual acts.
  • Encouraging children to perform sexual acts through the internet such as on social media.
  • Flashing where unsuspecting victims are exposed to someone’s private body parts.
  • Failing to protect children from exposure to other people’s sexual activities.
  • Abuse online such as viewing, sharing or copying sexual images of children.
  • Exposing pornography to a child.
  • Sexual exploitation of children for money or power.

Sexual assault and sexual abuse can happen to anyone, man or woman, boy or girl, at any stage in their life. Although the majority of victims in the UK tend to be women and children, men can also be sexually abused or assaulted. Sexual abuse compensation claims can equally be made by either gender or for any age. The compensation can be paid for both physical and/or psychological trauma.

Can I claim compensation for sexual abuse which leads to physical harm?

Sex abuse compensation claims

Sex abuse compensation claims

Being physically harmed whilst being sexually assaulted is a harrowing experience that no-one should have to go through, and will undoubtedly leave the victim in a distressed and confused state. Claiming compensation for physical harm will vary depending on where you were when the assault took place, you could’ve been at work when the assault happened, or in a public place for example. Making a claim for sexual abuse compensation may help you to logically think through your feelings a little easier if you know there’s a good chance that you’ll receive some compensation for what you have gone through at the end, and may remove some of the stress of financial worries if you have had to take time off of work or have medical bills to pay due to your injury.

If your injury happened whilst at work, your employer or the company you work for could be found liable, this will be explained in greater detail further on in the guide.

Can I claim compensation for sexual abuse leading to psychological injuries?

When someone has had a traumatic experience or suffered on-going abuse, psychological injuries often last a lot longer than physical injuries, sometimes for a lifetime. However, unlike physical injuries that can usually be seen, psychological injuries can be harder to prove. If you are looking to claim compensation for psychological injuries, it would be a good idea to speak to a sexual abuse solicitor at Legal Helpline to get the right advice on how to conduct your claim.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) state that regardless of whether your attacker has been arrested and/or imprisoned, as long as you can prove you were a victim of sexual abuse, you can make a compensation claim. The severity of your injuries will be what determines the amount you may be awarded, with the higher amounts being paid to those with severe injuries.

Rape and sexual abuse compensation claims can become very complex and so it is a good idea to gather as much information and evidence surrounding your case as you possibly can to try to make the claiming process run more smoothly. However, we have years of experience in claims for victims of assault and can help you with your personal injury claim to ensure you have a successful outcome. Just give us a call for free help and advice.

What is the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)?

The CICA is an organisation funded by the government and was established to provide blameless victims of violent crimes with compensation. The CICA have the responsibility of controlling the administration of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme in England, Wales and Scotland. If you have been the victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault, you may be entitled to compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme if you have suffered physical or psychological injury.

What do I need to know about the CICA?

In order to qualify for a possible CICA compensation payout, you need to have reported your abuse to the Police so that they can carry out a thorough investigation of your claim. You need to be able to provide evidence to CICA that the incident of abuse, or on-going abuse, has occurred and then they will consider the probability of the injuries you have suffered as a result.

As part of providing evidence, you will be required to undergo a medical examination. This will enable a detailed report of your injuries and their severity. There does not need to have been a conviction of your abuser for a compensation claim to CICA to be successful.

To learn more about sexual abuse compensation claims, please get in touch with our specialist team on the number at the top of the page.

How are sexual abuse claims made through the CICA?

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority is supposed to be used as a last resort if you have not been able to claim compensation through other means. Before agreeing to take on a claim, they must be satisfied that you have pursued other ways of claiming money for damages or compensation as a result of your injuries and they may request evidence that you have attempted to claim compensation from the assailant if there was a good chance of success, that you have asked your employer about entitlements to damages or insurance payouts if your abuse happened whilst in the workplace, and that you have in fact applied for all benefits that you may be entitled to as a victim of sexual abuse.

CICA will not make a decision about your case until they have seen evidence that you have tried all other possible ways of claiming compensation, and once satisfied that you have contacted them as a last resort, will decide if you are eligible or not to seek compensation through them. The CICA must be informed and kept up to date about any other claims you may be making.

It is advisable to apply to the CICA even if you are in fact seeking compensation for damages from elsewhere as soon as possible. If the assailant has not been caught or convicted, there is still a chance that CICA will accept you to make use of their scheme.

Sexual abuse claims time limits

As a general rule, personal injury claims need to be started within three years from the date the injury occurred or was first diagnosed, and for children who have suffered an injury that wasn’t their fault, they have until three years after their 18th birthday. However, with sexual abuse cases, the time limit for making a claim does in fact differ slightly. Sexual abuse claims need to be started within two years, or if a minor, before their 20th birthday. Obviously, the sooner the compensation claim is started, the better it is as details surrounding the incident are still fresh in mind.

There are some exceptions, however. Due to the sensitive nature of sexual abuse claims, a lot of victims may not come forward about the abuse they have suffered until a long time after it occurred, sometimes as long as 20 years, depending on the nature of the claim and whether there is a chance to provide evidence, historical sexual abuse may be considered.

Statistics about sexual abuse in the UK

There is much talk in the media about the prevalence of sexual abuse in the UK. It’s only when you reflect upon the figures that you truly appreciate the scale of the problem.

According to the latest figures from the Office For National Statistics, released in March 2020, it is estimated that:

  • 3.1 million adults aged 18 to 74 years suffered despicable acts of sexual abuse before they turned 16.
  • Around 1 in 7 adults who contacted the National Association for People Abused in Childhood’s (NAPAC’s) had not told anyone about their child abuse before.
  • The charity Childline provided 19,847 counselling sessions to children between 2018/19. And sexual abuse accounted for 45% of them.
  • It’s estimated that around 8.5 million adults aged between 18 and 74 experienced some form of abuse before they turned 16.

Nobody should suffer sexual abuse, especially children who are so vulnerable to the heinous acts of adults. Although it cannot undo the terrible crimes that have been committed, compensation can help to try and restore some order in your life. Sexual abuse claims can factor in the cost of therapy and counselling, as well as any other treatment that may be required.

To discover more and receive free legal advice on seeking sexual abuse compensation, please get in touch with our specially-trained advisers on the number at the top of this page. You can also contact us in writing by clicking here.

Sexual abuse in relationships

It may come as a shock to know that 90% of sexual abuse victims know their abuser. This is often because the abuse often occurs in a relationship or domestic setting. It doesn’t matter if you are married to or living with your abuser, if you are being sexually abused, it is still wrong and you are just as eligible to make a compensation claim as someone who’s been attacked by someone unknown to them.

As a victim of sexual abuse within a relationship, you may feel especially helpless. Please call us at Legal Helpline and talk to a member of our specialist team and who will endeavour to help you.

Sexual abuse and harassment in the workplace

All employers have a legal responsibility to provide a safe working environment for their employees and a duty of care to protect their well-being whilst in the workplace in accordance with the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The main legal responsibilities employers have are to:

  • Safeguard the health, safety and welfare of all employees whilst in the workplace.
  • To protect the health and safety of people that aren’t employees whilst in the workplace.

If employers fail to adhere to these obligations, then they can be found to be negligent of their duty of care as an employer.

If you have suffered some form of sexual abuse whilst in the workplace, such as inappropriate comments or touching, then you may be eligible to make a sexual abuse compensation claim.

How damages are assessed in a sexual abuse claim

To be able to accurately assess the extent of physical and psychological damage caused by sexual abuse, the victim will need to be examined by a medical professional. Having a medical examination will provide proof of the injuries and also how severe they are. For the psychological injuries, often a therapist will assess how severely the victim’s mental health has been affected. So often the psychological impact of being sexually abused lasts a much longer time, and in fact may never go away entirely, than the physical aspect of the abuse. These examinations are not only beneficial for the victim’s health so that they can receive the correct treatment, but they also provide essential evidence to include in a compensation claim for damages.

If you are the victim of sexual abuse but have not yet been examined, as part of our service, we can arrange for you to have a free local medical. Compensation for sexual abuse victims can vary depending on the injuries sustained, so by being assessed officially and getting a proper diagnosis of your injuries and the impact the abuse has had on your well-being, you can make a huge impact on the final settlement amount of compensation. The more severe the injuries, the higher the compensation will be, and so by being able to provide a medical report, you can maximise the amount of compensation you may receive.

To find out more about how compensation is assessed in sexual abuse claims, please get in touch with our team.

What can the long term consequences of sexual abuse be?

More often than not, victims of sexual abuse will carry on suffering long after the actual incidence of the abuse itself largely due to the psychological impact such an occurrence can have. Typical psychological symptoms a victim may suffer from are anxiety and depression as well as difficulty with forming close relationships with others.

In order to combat some of these symptoms, medication and specialised therapy or counselling may be required although this will vary from person to person as everyone is different and will cope in different ways. Although medication and therapy may give some relief of the pain and suffering, for some, the symptoms will never fully go away for as long as they live.

When claiming compensation for sexual abuse, it is imperative that you can prove the extent of your suffering and the fact that you may never fully recover, to make sure that the amount of compensation awarded to you truly reflects the pain and suffering you are experiencing and may continue to experience for some time.

For more information regarding this matter, please speak to a member of our team.

What is involved in making a claim for sexual abuse?

If you have been the victim of sexual abuse or assault, there are a number of things you can do to initially to gather some evidence that will support a claim should you wish to make a sexual abuse compensation claim, such as:

  • Photos – If you are able to, take photos of where the incident took place. If you have any visible injuries, take photos of these. Even take photos of the abuser if at all possible.
  • Witnesses – If there were any witnesses to the abuse, try to get their contact details so that a witness statement may be obtained. Any witnesses of the time leading up to, or after the incident may also be useful.
  • Medical Assistance – As already explained, undergoing a medical examination is essential, not only for your health but also to support and influence your claim.
  • Financial Expenses – Keep receipts and records of any financial costings that you have incurred directly as a result of the sexual abuse you have suffered. These may include medical expenses or travel expenses for example.

By making a start of gathering evidence, it should help the claiming process to run a bit quicker and more smoothly. For more advice on what’s involved in sexual abuse claims, please get in touch with our team.

How to start a sexual abuse compensation claim

After going through such a harrowing experience, it may be a very daunting prospect to start a sexual abuse claim. However, if you get the right legal advice, although having to talk about what happened will be difficult, making a claim needn’t be as bad as you’d expect.

If you choose to contact us at Legal Helpline, we will offer you a free, no-obligation, confidential consultancy session where you can freely discuss the details surrounding your claim and ask as many questions as you need to. We will also delicately ask you some questions so that we can make an informed decision as to whether you have a valid claim and be able to advise you on the best course of action to take.

In most cases, we will offer to conduct your claim for you on your behalf under a no win no fee agreement (more about no win no fee further on in the guide). If you decide to take us up on our offer, you can then leave it to us to carry on gathering all of the necessary evidence and information we need to build you a strong case ready to take to court.

If you haven’t seen a medical professional already, we can arrange one for you.

What can I claim as a victim of sexual abuse?

When making any personal injury claim, there are a number of things that can be taken into consideration that will have an impact on the final settlement amount of your claim, such as:

  • General Damages – These cover the physical and psychological damages caused by sexual abuse and the impact it has had on your well-being and quality of life.
  • Medical Expenses – Any medical costs that you have incurred as a result of the abuse you have suffered should be included.
  • Travel expenses – Any travel expenses that you have incurred as a result of the abuse you have suffered should be included.
  • Care Claim – If you have needed the help of a carer, you can include a care claim also.
  • Loss of income – If the sexual abuse has caused you to need time off of work or to leave your job altogether, you can include this loss of income in your claim as well as any potential loss of future income and benefits.

Make sure to keep hold of any receipts and a record of any costs you have incurred as you will need to be able to prove these to successfully recover them in sexual abuse compensation claims.

Sexual abuse compensation calculator

Due to the sheer nature of this type of claim and a large number of variations, it would be impossible at this stage to predict how much compensation for sexual abuse you may receive. Any reputable personal injury solicitor that specialises in sexual abuse cases will not pretend to know how much compensation you will get as it is just too early to make any such statements.

However, as a guide to what sort of payouts it is possible to receive for sexual abuse claims, we have put together a table showing the average amounts of compensation paid out for certain injuries.

Reason for compensationAverage compensation amountComments
Mental AnguishUp to £4,380Fear of impending death or sudden loss of life.
Severe Psychiatric Damage£51,460 to £108,620The claimant's inability to cope well with everyday life and relationships are affected and the claimant remains vulnerable.
Less Severe to Moderately Severe Psychiatric Damage£1,440 to £51,460Similar to the above but less severe and prognosis looking positive.
Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder Moderate - Severe£7,680 to £94,470Brought on by a traumatic event such as violent sexual assault.
Sexual Abuse / Assault£1,000 - £22,000
Vaginal, or Anal Intercourse Without Consent£11,000 - £44,000
Indecent Abuse / Assault£1,000 - £3,300
Unconsented Sexual Advances Resulting in an STD£5,500 - £22,000
Pain and Suffering£1,000 - £200,000

We must stress that these are only guidelines to show what level of compensation sexual abuse claims can result in, but they are not necessarily what you might receive as it really will depend on the unique circumstances of your individual claim.

Sexual abuse no win no fee claims

Legal Helpline offers a no win no fee policy. No win no fee simply means that if we were to conduct your sexual abuse claim for you, but we lost the case, you would not be charged a single penny for our time and legal fees, you would pay nothing. However, in the case that we do win, although we would then charge for our legal fees, we would take this as a small percentage of your final settlement amount once it has been awarded.

No win no fee is a way to receive legal help and representation without any risk to your current finances. There are no upfront costs or costs during the claiming process. Our fees purely rely on a successful outcome. Therefore, no matter what financial situation you are in, you can still hire us to conduct your claim for you, increasing the chances of success while giving you time to concentrate on your recovery.

Why claim compensation for sexual abuse with Legal Helpline?

After suffering sexual abuse you will be entitled to claim compensation. Legal Helpline has a fantastic track record of making successful personal injury claims including many sexual abuse claims. Our panel of solicitors are experts in this field and give our clients cases their full attention in order to make sure that the maximum compensation amount is awarded.

We offer a number of benefits with our service from our free, no-obligation consultancy session to our no win no fee agreement and offer of arranging a free local medical in support of any claims made. Our service is designed with our clients in mind, giving excellent customer service.

The solicitors and other members of our team are professional, reliable and friendly and always work to the highest standard and best of their ability to get our clients the sexual abuse compensation they deserve as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

Speak to Legal Helpline now

If you’d like to speak to us further about sexual abuse claims, our team of specially trained advisers is here to help. There is a range of ways you can get in touch with:

Further helpful resources

In the final section of our guide on sexual abuse compensation claims, we’ve included some further resources you may find useful, as well the answers to some frequently asked questions.

Assaulted at work

This link takes you to another of our advice guides that provide information on claiming compensation if you have been assaulted in the workplace.

Reporting historical abuse

Find out how you can report sexual abuse from years ago.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme

The governments guide on the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority telling you all you need to know about what it is and about filing a compensation claim through them.

NHS – Help following rape or sexual assault

This link leads you to the NHS site regarding rape and sexual abuse and has lots of helpful information if you are a victim of abuse or an assault of this nature.

More of our guides

Browse below for more of our guides on criminal injuries claims:

Other claims we handle

Find out if you could claim for being given the wrong prescription by a pharmacy.

Sexual Abuse Compensation Claims FAQ

Can I claim compensation for being sexually assaulted?

Yes, it’s possible to claim compensation for being sexually assaulted, even if you do not know the identity of the attacker. They don’t need to have been prosecuted either. A claim for compensation can be made through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

Can I get compensation for being sexually abused?

Yes, just like with claims for sexual assault, it’s also possible to get compensation for being sexually abused. It doesn’t matter if the perpetrator hasn’t been convicted, or if they have since died, you can still seek compensation through the CICA.

How long do CICA claims take?

It’s hard to say with certainty how long CICA claims take. However, the organisation sets itself a target to resolve claims within 12 to 18 months. It does, unfortunately, depend on the complexity of the case and its potential value.

Thank you for reading our guide to sexual abuse claims and sexual abuse compensation.