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January 14th 2022

CICA

Why it is never too late to make a criminal injury claim after a sexual assault

Nicola Bailey-Gibbs

Nicola Bailey-Gibbs

Associate, Criminal Injuries and Civil Liberties

Why it is never too late to make a criminal injury claim after a sexual assault

According to Home Office figures around 85,000 women and 12,000 men experience rape, attempted rape, or assault by penetration in England and Wales each year. But only around 15% of those who experience sexual violence report it to the police.

According to Home Office figures around 85,000 women and 12,000 men experience rape, attempted rape, or assault by penetration in England and Wales each year. But only around 15% of those who experience sexual violence report it to the police.

If you have experienced sexual abuse or an assault it is your right to make a claim for criminal injuries compensation. The report to the police does not need to have been made at the time, and the timeframe for submitting a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) does not start until the date the matter is reported to the police.

The levels of compensation you may be entitled to range from £1,000 for sexual acts over clothing to £44,000 for rape resulting in long-term physical and emotional injury. Other examples of awards include:

• £13,500 for rape by more than one attacker
• £22,000 for repeated sexual abuse
• £27,000 for sexual assault causing permanent mental illness.

At Hudgell Solicitors we know that although the size of the award varies to reflect the seriousness of the abuse, it will never fully compensate you for what you have suffered or lost but it is society’s way of recognising that you have been a victim.

Last year the CICA refused over a thousand claims because they were not submitted within the two-year time limit but our experienced case workers at Hudgell Solicitors can advise you whether it may be possible to ask for the limit to be waived.

If your claim is late, we can still help you win compensation

In cases of sexual assault and abuse, as a general rule, the CICA requires a claim to be submitted within two years of the date you reported the matter to the police.

However, in a recent review of the CICA claims, of the 75,000 applications for compensation following a reported sexual assault or abuse, 13,000 were submitted after the two-year time limit. Of those late claims, 72% of applicants went on to receive an award.

The CICA has discretion to waive this two-year time limit if there are exceptional circumstance, such as:

Mental Health Issues – If you’re unwell you may not be able to focus on making a claim.
Physical Injury – Again if you were unwell, you may not have been able to make a claim.
Police Advice – Police may ask victims not to begin a claim until a criminal investigation is concluded.

If any of the above apply to you Hudgell Solicitors could help you obtain the necessary evidence and advise you on making a claim.

Compensation decisions are not based on criminal trial outcomes

The CICA bases its compensation decisions on a ‘balance of probabilities’, this is a lower standard of proof required by the criminal courts, which requires a case to be proved ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. Due to this, it is not always necessary for there to be a conviction, or even charges brought against the offender, for an award to be made.

A victim can apply at any time following disclosure to the police. At Hudgell Solicitors we will help victims gather evidence to support the waiving of the two-year limit.

We recently supported a woman who reported that she was raped and abused by an ex-partner when she was between 16 and 18 years-old. A jury found him not guilty, but the woman from Doncaster was awarded £23,000 for damages at the age of 39.

Read more: Damages for woman who alleged she was raped and abused by ex-partner.

Hudgell Solicitors also represented a woman who reported sexual abuse by an uncle when she was a child. The 25-year-old from Manchester was awarded £16,500 – despite her uncle being found not guilty.

Read more: Damages awarded to woman despite uncle she accused of abusing her walking free from court.

Finding the courage and confidence to speak out about being subjected to any form of sexual abuse or assault, at any time in your life, is far from easy, and that is why we have a dedicated Criminal Injuries team at Hudgell Solicitors who are highly experienced in supporting survivors. It is our aim to provide help and support to people and secure compensation for their suffering to help them rebuild their lives.

Please download a copy of our Criminal Injuries Guide.

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