Trust House Lincolnshire knows that no amount of money can compensate a survivor for their experience of having been raped or sexually abused.
However, everyone who is the victim of a sexual crime is entitled to make a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), which is a Government scheme for compensating victims of crime.
Survivors may also be able to make a civil claim against the person or body who may be to blame (the perpetrator, her/his employer, a local authority, or the managers of an institution).
CRIMINAL INJURIES COMPENSATION
Criminal Injuries Compensation is a scheme provided by the Government to provide monetary compensation to victims of criminal acts resulting in physical or mental injury.
Criminal Injuries Compensation is available to survivors of rape and sexual abuse. The scheme requires a report to the police and a unique crime reference number. The offender, however, does not need to have been convicted of, or even charged with, a crime for a claim for Criminal Injuries Compensation to succeed. The minimum award is £1,000.
Whilst there are time limits for bringing claims, it is possible to make historical claims in exceptional circumstances, as long as the crime took place after 1st August 1964.
Full details of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme can be obtained from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority website.
The website contains useful information and provides full details of the claims you can make, how to apply for compensation and how your claim will be handled. You can also find more information about time limits and factors which may affect or reduce any award.
You can get assistance from lawyers or other agencies including an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor at your local specialist support centre which can help you through the process. The government, however, do not pay your fees.
A survivor can also consider whether it is appropriate to bring a civil action against the person/body to blame for the rape or sexual abuse, for example:
- The perpetrator
- The employer of the survivor
- The Local Authority
- The manager/administrators of an institution
- A school
- A voluntary body or charity.
It may also be possible to bring a civil action against individuals or statutory bodies not mentioned in the list above and professional advice should be obtained in each case.
By bringing a civil action, you will be seeking monetary compensation for the physical and mental injuries you suffered as a result of being raped or sexually or physically abused.
It is important at the outset to talk about costs. If you are unable to fund a civil action against your perpetrator or the person or body to blame for the rape or sexual abuse, there may be other ways of financing an action, such as legal aid (subject to the legal aid rules existing at the relevant time), and “no win no fee” type arrangements.
The solicitor acting for you should carefully explain in detail the terms and conditions that will apply to “no win no fee arrangements” that you are being asked to agree to and accept. It is very important that you ensure that you fully understand everything before you commit to going ahead or before you sign any agreements.
It is very important that you discuss and agree with your solicitor whether it is worthwhile pursuing a claim before committing yourself to the payment of any fees.
LOOKING AFTER YOURSELF
The process of claiming compensation, whether through CICA or through a civil action, can be lengthy. A claim made to CICA can sometimes take more than a year to reach a conclusion. A claim made by way of a civil action is likely to take two years or more to reach a conclusion. The process may involve obtaining psychiatric or psychological reports to support the claim, which can be triggering. If you are aware of these things beforehand, you can prepare yourself emotionally and make sure you have a good support network in place to help you through the process.