5 top tips to start a historical sexual abuse claim
The CICA do permit historical abuse claims in certain circumstances. CICA solicitor, Jonathan Winston who has been advising on CICA claims since 1995, has provided useful information on how to bring a successful claim.
Do I need solicitor advice?
Historic abuse claims are inevitably more complex due to the passage of time. A CICA solicitor can check if you are eligible before you decide whether you want to make a claim. Look for a specialist firm who offer ‘no win on fee’ agreements, so you know they will provide initial advice for free.
How is a historical claim more difficult than a recent sexual abuse case?
There are two main problems. Was the abuse ever reported to the police? Often victims are children, so they do not know exactly what happened. If it was reported say in the 1980s, how can you obtain the police crime number, which you need before a claim can be started?
The sexual abuse was never reported, can I still claim?
These cases are particularly complicated, as you may be trying to report abuse that happened many years ago. The abuser may even be dead. By speaking to a CICA solicitor with experience in advising on historical claims, you will be better placed to report the abuse to the police. A helping hand at this stage can make a big difference.
How does the two year rule apply to historic sex claims?
The CICA scheme 2012 says claims must be made within two years of the incident, unless the abuse occurred when a child, in which case the claim must be made by the time you are 20. So how can people bring historic abuse claims when they are older than 20. There are two little known exceptions to the ‘two year rule’. First if it has never been reported to the police, the two years starts from when it is reported. Second if you have suffered mental illness, the CICA may permit a claim outside of the normal ‘two year rule’. We always recommend you speak to a historical abuse specialist before commencing a claim.
How long do sexual abuse claims take?
Whilst it is difficult to bring a successful claim. If the CICA accept your claim, compensation awards are often made relatively quickly. Due to a government initiative, sexual abuse, sexual assault and rape claims are being prioritised. Unless the claim involves mental illness which needs to be diagnosed by a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, offers of compensation are taking on average three months. This compares with victims of physical violence where offers are taking on average twelve months. However all cases where there is significant mental illness do take at least a year, whether they are for physical or sexual abuse.
We hope you have found these tips useful. If you would like to speak to Jonathan Winston or one of his team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our CICA helpline on 0330 320 5000.