Criminal Injury

Woman awarded £138,000 CICA compensation after original £6,600 offer for childhood abuse was challenged

Criminal Injuries Compensation Claims Hudgell Solicitors
5 min read time

A 53-year-old woman who suffered a lifetime of mental health injuries after being sexually abused as a child says an award from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) will go to her children.

The woman who was repeatedly assaulted by a family member from the age of eight has received a criminal injuries award of £138,832 after a seven-year legal battle.

“This is for my kids. I was a working, single mother and there wasn’t a lot I could give them. They didn’t know what I was going through when they were young but now, they do, and I just want to make sure they’re looked after.”

In 2016 CICA originally offered the woman £6,600 for the sexual assaults she had been subjected to, but Hudgell Solicitors asked for a review of that decision as it did not take into account the psychological injuries the woman had lived with for more than forty years.

The woman was represented by experienced Criminal Injuries litigation executive Tracy Thames, who has represented many clients in CICA appeals.

‘We thought it was unfair and asked for it to be reviewed’

“I’m satisfied that my client has finally been awarded the compensation she fully deserves. Her childhood was taken from her and the psychological damage from the abuse has caused her to miss out on so much in life.

“The initial offer of £6,600 was only based on the sexual assaults, it did not take into account the disabling psychological injuries she has lived with as a result.

“CICA said there was insufficient evidence that my client’s mental injuries were related to the abuse, but we disagreed, we thought it was unfair and we asked for it to be reviewed.”

However, in 2020 CICA upheld its original offer of £6,600 and Ms Thames advised her client to take her case to a tribunal.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal (CICT) considers the award for the type and level of an injury and it will also look at whether a person has experienced loss of earnings due to their injuries. The Tribunal will also, in some cases, direct CICA to commission an expert report on an applicant’s long-term injuries.

The Tribunal ruled that the woman should be assessed by an independent expert who confirmed she had suffered a disabling mental injury, which was permanent, and that the abuse by an aunt’s partner was the main and substantial cause.

The CICA award then increased to £138,832 to include the woman’s estimated loss of earnings through her adult life.

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‘I want others to know it’s never too late’

“At the start, I didn’t want the money, I thought it was ‘dirty money’ because it was connected with the abuse, but I’m pleased with the award now, I’m pleased for my children, it doesn’t help the past but it will help their futures,” said the woman, who does not wish to be named.

“Also, I finally feel like I’ve been believed. There have been times when I have wanted to take my own life. I did have my mother by my side who knew about it, but when she passed, I felt all alone and vulnerable.

“I lived with it but I tried not to show it. I always felt I had to make sure my kids didn’t come to any harm, but when they got older and were grown-up, I just couldn’t cope and there were problems with alcohol dependency.

“But I am supported now. Tracy has been with me over the years, and she’s been like family, I’ve trusted her and I’m really going to miss her; she has been the person that has made all this possible and I want to say a massive ‘thank you’ and I want other victims to know that it is never too late to report abuse and seek support.”

The CICA scheme doesn’t require anyone to be convicted

The woman’s abuser was arrested by Nottinghamshire Police Force and eventually received a prison sentence.

Although the CICA scheme doesn’t require anyone to be convicted of a crime for a victim to be awarded damages, the crime must be reported to the police, the victim must fully cooperate with any investigation and must also be prepared to press charges.

The CICA are then able to make an award on the balance of probabilities based on the police report and the victim’s cooperation.

However, Ms Thames said on occasions it was important that CICA awards were challenged, especially when they did not take into account the victim’s full circumstances.

“At Hudgells we have represented hundreds of clients in their appeals to CICA because we believed justice has not been done.

“In this case the initial award was solely based on physical assaults, it did not recognise that my client’s life had been severely impacted by the abuse and that she is still living with the serious consequences of that abuse. The new award reflects that, and that means a lot to my client.”

Making a Criminal Injuries Claim

If you or a member of your family has come to harm as a result of a crime, you have a right to seek compensation for those injuries. We put your interests first, ensuring the most appropriate and effective legal specialists are handling your claim.

The first step is to get in touch using our online claim form. From here, one of our expert criminal injury lawyers will contact you for a confidential discussion of your circumstances, guiding you on the best path forward.

Read more: Criminal Injuries Compensation Claims

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