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Legal support following sexual abuse

Sexual abuse and rape compensation claims

Being a victim of sexual abuse can have a long-lasting impact on the lives of those affected and is often something people find extremely difficult to discuss, even with those closest to them.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics Crime Survey for England and Wales, published in March 2021, nearly a quarter of women have experienced sexual assault or attempted sexual assault since the age of 16, while one in 14 have experienced rape or attempted rape.

The same survey said more than 750,000 adults aged 16-74 were victims of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault in the year ending March 2020.

Although there were four times as many female victims as male, reports of sexual offences against men and boys have been rising and tripled over the decade from 2007-2017.

Research also suggests it takes men an average of 26 years to speak out about being a victim of sexual abuse or rape.

Finding the courage and confidence to speak out about being subjected to any form of sexual abuse, at any time in your life, is far from easy, and that is why we have a dedicated team at Hudgell Solicitors who are highly-experienced in supporting survivors.

It is our aim to provide the help and support people and securing compensation for their suffering to help them rebuild their lives.

Our Sexual Assault Experts

Nicola Bailey-Gibbs Associate, Criminal Injuries and Civil Liberties Read more
Tracy Thames Litigation Executive, Criminal Injuries Read more
Rebecca Pick Litigation Executive, Criminal Injuries Read more

Making a sexual assault or rape compensation claim with Hudgells

We are committed to always putting the emotional and psychological needs of our clients first, ensuring we provide compassionate and considerate advice on the legal steps available to survivors of any form of sexual abuse and rape.

People often turn to us not initially for legal expertise or to discuss compensation, but because they need to speak to someone who has helped others in similar situations. Often it is a family member, and not those who have been abused, who contact us on behalf of those they love.

Whilst compensation can often be recovered, we know it is access to other areas of support which is often the most valued aspect of our involvement. A damages claim, however, can be a vital step towards finding some form of closure, bringing recognition of the suffering endured and its impact on lives.

At Hudgell Solicitors we are committed to:

  • Giving all victims of sexual abuse and rape a voice by helping them feel able to access the vital legal support and help they need.
  • Assuring complete confidentiality and understanding at all times, with lawyers under obligation to keep identities and all information private.
  • Ensuring we put the emotional and psychological needs of those we support first at all times.
  • Using our expertise to ensure all allegations of sexual abuse and rape, and their impact, are fully investigated, no matter when the abuse happened.
  • Doing our best to help those who have been affected to find a road to their best recovery, with relevant and effective support, at the right time.

We know that complete trust and confidence between ourselves, those who have suffered from any form of abuse and their families is one of the most important aspects of the service we provide.

That is why we have a dedicated team of specialist lawyers who have been selected not only for their legal expertise, but importantly because of their experience in working with people of all ages who have suffered sexual abuse.

Should you wish to speak to a male or female lawyer, we will ensure your needs are met, and that all discussions are conducted in a manner which makes you the most comfortable.

What can victims of sexual abuse claim compensation for?

Any sexual contact without consent is considered assault and a victim could have a valid case for compensation. This includes touching over clothing, groping, drug-facilitated sexual assault, child sexual abuse and rape.

Abusers can often be people in respected professions and positions of trust and our team has handled cases involving family members, senior doctors and consultants, police officers, government employed officials, school staff and those linked to religious organisations.

Following a law change in 2018, people abused at the hands of somebody they lived with between 1964 and October 1 1979 can now apply for compensation after the ‘same roof rule’ was abolished, which had prevented people from doing so previously.

At Hudgell Solicitors, we help people claim compensation in a variety of circumstances. These include;

Claims to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is a scheme established by the Government specifically to compensate victims of violent crime.

Our lawyers have in-depth knowledge of the CICA scheme and a track record of securing damages for victims of sexual abuse and rape through the application process.

Although most claims are linked to cases where attackers have faced criminal proceedings there are some cases where compensation can be secured, even if no criminal prosecutions took place. Key contact – Nicola Bailey-Gibbs

Claims related to failure to investigate / protect by police forces and other state bodies

We have supported many individuals and families affected by the failure of police forces to fully investigate allegations relating to sexual assault and rape prior to an actual assault taking place.

We have also represented people in cases where local authorities, child protection agencies and social workers have failed to protect vulnerable people from individuals who posed a threat to them.

Our solicitors are particularly experienced at holding police forces to account for the failure to fully investigate, or take appropriate action, in circumstances where peoples’ safety could be at risk, resulting in them eventually being subjected to a physical attack.

We have also sadly represented the families of a number of women who were sadly killed by partners or ex-partners after reporting concerns over their safety to the police on a number of occasions. Key contact – Vicky Richardson

How do I claim compensation for sexual assault and rape?

Many cases naturally relate to harrowing crimes which survivors can find difficult to relive as part of the claims process, and this is something our team at Hudgell Solicitors are very much aware of.

Our experience in supporting survivors of abuse means we can often secure much of the evidence and information required from bodies and organisations such as police forces, social services and others directly, minimising the impact on our clients.

In order for us to pursue a claim, it is essential that a report has been made to the police and that a full statement has been provided. We will ask for details of when the alleged assault was reported to the police (and ideally a police reference number), the name of the offender (if known), the date of any related criminal court case and contact details for any medical expert who has provided treatment.

We will advise you as to whether your case should be pursued against an individual, an organisation or through the CICA.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the information I provide confidential?

Yes. Our focus is always on ensuring those who seek our help know they can do so with complete confidentiality, whether they initially turn to us for an informal discussion and general advice or wish to discuss the sexual abuse they suffered, or was suffered by someone they know.

This means that your lawyer will be under obligation to keep identities secret, and all information you confide in us with. We will always ask you first if you are comfortable with the information you provide to us being shared with others as part of the legal process, such as the CICA, and all information shared will of course remain strictly confidential, regardless of the outcome.

What are the time limits for making a sexual abuse or rape claim?

Claims to the CICA should ideally be made within two years of the incident or abuse, or two years from the date of reporting the matter to the police.

For someone who was the victim of abuse when they were a child they have until their 20th birthday to make their application. However, because this is a highly-sensitive area of law, where victims find it difficult to come forward, the time limits can be extended in certain circumstances, so we recommend that you take advice whatever your circumstances.

My abuser has died and was never prosecuted, can I still pursue a case?

Yes. We handle many cases where the abuser has died, even though the issue was never subject to a police investigation when they were alive.

Cases can be made against their estate. Alternatively, claims can be made against employers by holding them vicariously liable if the abuse took place through their job, such as a teacher, medical professional, carers or sports coach, for example.

Criminal injuries claims can also be pursued, particularly if there is evidence from other potential victims who independently make similar allegations which are consistent in terms of the kind of abuse and circumstance.

The burden of proof is less in civil claims than criminal cases, and if enough evidence can be presented to demonstrate that sexual abuse was likely to have happened, claims can be successful.

Can I make a claim to the CICA myself?

Yes, but our experienced lawyers know what evidence is required to maximise awards, particularly with regards to the impact a sexual assault can have psychologically and financially throughout a survivor’s life.

Our team has helped many people who have only turned to us after making an initial application themselves, seeking our support to challenge and appeal against low damages offers made to them. This ultimately makes the process longer than seeking legal support from the start.

We’ve successfully reviewed and appealed many cases where the CICA has offered an unsatisfactory settlement, resulting in our clients eventually securing many thousands of pounds more in damages.

We will advise you on what evidence we feel you should submit as part of your case.

Relying on police evidence only can help bring your case to a conclusion quicker, but equally, awaiting independent medical evidence which we can arrange, such as assessments on the psychological impact the assault had on you, may enable you to obtain significantly more compensation.

How much compensation is paid to victims of sexual assault or rape?

Dependent on your case, damages could be through the CICA scheme, or perhaps against a state body which has failed in its duty to protect you from harm, including, for example police forces, local authorities or religious organisations.

If your claim is made through the CICA, a clear tariff of compensation is set out for survivors of sexual crimes, ranging from £1,000 to £44,000, with certain levels of compensation only available for child sexual assault.
The tariff sets out the following damages awards:

  • One incident of sexual assault without penetration and over clothing – £1,000
  • Contracting a sexually transmitted disease £5,500 – £11,000
  • One incident of full penetrative rape – £11,000
  • Repeated incidents over a period exceeding three years £22,000
  • Abuse over a longer period of time can attract an award as high as £33,000 with various levels in-between depending on the above mentioned factors.

In addition, compensation can be awarded for:

  • Physical/Internal injuries
  • Psychological damage
  • Pregnancy resulting from the assault
  • Lost income if the period of absence from work exceeds 28 weeks

Cases which are against individuals, organisations and state bodies will not follow the above tariff and your solicitor will advise you about the potential damages you could receive.

How long will the claim take?

The legal process can vary in length dependent upon the evidence available to us and the considerations needed to ensure we can pursue the maximum possible compensation on your behalf.
We always make sure we work at a pace that our clients are comfortable with, whilst ensuring we meet the required deadlines to keep your case progressing towards a conclusion, and that we complete all required investigations.

Do I need to wait until all criminal court hearings are complete before starting a civil claim?

No, and due to the time limits we would urge people not to wait. Clients often tell us they have been advised to wait until after criminal court hearings have been completed, but we always recommend seeking access to justice as soon as possible.

How will I pay for my legal representation?

When taking on any compensation claims, we will discuss how the case will be funded to ensure you are comfortable and aware of the costs, if any.

For many of our clients, we are able to offer ‘no win no fee’ arrangements, meaning that our services only need to be covered if your claim is successful.

Additionally, those costs will be covered by a pre-agreed portion of the compensation awarded, meaning there’s no upfront costs to you which might prevent you from seeking justice for your experience.

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