Child Abuse Compensation Claims FAQ

Child Abuse Compensation Claims FAQ

Child Abuse Compensation Claims FAQ

Here are some of our most frequently asked questions regarding making a compensation claim for child abuse.

If your particular question is not answered below, you should contact one of our experts for free legal advice on your potential claim.

 

 


 

What can the courts do?

The civil court can only make an award for compensation. The court has no power to punish the abuser. It may be possible to obtain an apology from the social services, if a local authority has been sued.

Back to top

 


 

What records will you need?

The type of records we will need would depend on each individual case. Records include social care records if the local authority put you into care. Care home records, if you were in a care home. We also need to obtain your GP, hospital and educational records.

Back to top

 

 


 

Will it become public that I was abused?

No, survivors of abuse are not named in the media and generally we can request the court makes an order early on in proceedings that the Claimant is not identified.

Back to top

 


 
The abuse occurred a long time ago, will this prevent me from making a claim?

 

It depends on individual circumstances and the reasons for any delay are taken into account by the court.

Back to top

 


 

If successful, will I lose my welfare benefit?

We can set up a special trust for those on benefits so you do not lose your right to claim welfare benefits. By doing this you ensure your entitlement to means tested benefits such as income support.

Back to top

 


 

I was not sexually abused, but I was physically and emotionally abused. Do I have a claim?

Yes. We have been successful in claims involving physical, emotional and sexual abuse, as well as neglect.

Back to top

 


 

I have reported the abuse to the police and the criminal prosecution was unsuccessful. Does this mean my civil claim will be unsuccessfully?

In relation to the criminal matters, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will review the police evidence and make a decision as to whether a conviction can be secured. If the CPS believes that a conviction can be secured a criminal trial will place. It is only if the jury believes that the accused is guilty beyond reasonable doubt, that the accused will be found guilty.

However, in the civil courts, we have to show that the abuse was more likely than not to have taken place. The test is based on the balance of probabilities. Therefore, it may be easier to pursue a claim through the civil courts.

It may be possible to succeed in the civil courts and not the criminal courts. However, if a criminal conviction is secured, this will assist your civil claim.

Back to top

 


 

How much compensation will I receive?

It is very difficult for us to give an estimate of how much compensation you will receive unless we have reviewed your case. It would depend on the medical evidence we obtain. We are entitled to claim for damages for psychological problems as well as physical injuries. In due course will obtain your medical records and instruct a medical expert for example, a psychologist or a psychiatrist in order to look at the emotional impact of the abuse from you.

Back to top

 


 

I cannot afford to bring a civil claim, is there any funding help available?

You may be entitled to public funding. Public funding is available from the Legal Services Commission. An application for public funding will need to be submitted and the Legal Services Commission will assess your financial means and merits of bringing a claim.

Back to top

 


 

My family do not know about the abuse, will the information remain confidential?

Any information that your pass on to us will be confidential within our offices as well as any information passed on to the Legal Services Commission, the Defendant and any medical experts instructed.

It is entirely up to you whether you wish to discuss the proceedings with your family. Alternatively, we will advise you of support groups and counselling which you may find helpful during the proceedings.

Back to top

 


 

Can I pursue a criminal injuries compensation claim?

If you have been a victim of crime or violence, then you are entitled to make a claim for criminal injuries compensation. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is a government scheme whereby victims of violent crimes are paid compensation under the terms of a scheme. Victims of sexual abuse are considered to be victims of violent crimes.

In order to be eligible for an award through the CICA, you have to show that you have co-operated fully with the police in bringing the person who abused you to justice. This usually means co-operating fully with the police and assisting them in obtaining a conviction. Applications to the CICA must be submitted within 2 years. The CICA sometimes use their discretion in child abuse cases and waiver the time limits.

In addition to compensation from the CICA, you may also be entitled to bring a civil claim. There is an overlap between the CICA scheme and civil proceedings. The CICA expects you to repay them any monies they have paid you. Civil courts are more generous that the CICA, the CICA will not allow you to recover twice over.

Back to top

 


 

I was not the only one abused. How does this alter the proceedings?

Following your instruction, it may be possible to check whether there are any other children from your care home/institution/foster home who have also previously been abused. Your solicitor will be a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers and they are in contact with other solicitors pursuing claims on behalf of child abuse victims. There maybe other claims being pursued or a multi-party action.

Back to top

 


 

How long will it take?

We will need to investigate and obtain evidence for your claim. This usually takes between 12 and 18 months. Sometimes longer depending in the circumstances. We will gather and review all the evidence in relation to your case. This will include taking a full statement from your, obtaining medical records, social care records if applicable and obtain a police statement and witness evidence. We will write a letter of claim to the Defendants setting out the allegations. The Defendants then have 3 months to investigate the claim and confirm whether or not they admit blame. We will request documentation from the Defendants, i.e. social services records. On receipt we will instruct a social care expert to support the allegations. We will also obtain a medical report on your injuries and instruct a barrister to advise on liability, evidence and quantum.

Back to top

 


 

Will I have to give evidence in court?

Most cases do not reach the trial stage because the Defendants have made an offer to settle the case beforehand or because your case is not strong enough to proceed to trial. We will advise you throughout your claim.

If your case does proceed to trial, it will be prepared by your barrister. You will be called to give evidence and the Defendants may wish to ask you questions about your evidence. This is called cross examination.

Back to top

 


 

Will I be left with solicitors fees to pay?

If you win the loser pays a reasonable proportion, but not all your legal costs.

If you lose you have to pay the opponents costs and your own. Public funding can sometimes pay your opponents costs if appropriate.

Back to top

 


 

Will I have any additional expenses to pay?

We need to obtain your GP and hospital records. We also need to instruct a medical expert to prepare a medical report. There are also court fees to be paid. These fees are known as disbursements. The disbursements can be funded by your public funding certificate.

Back to top

 

 

 


Can my solicitor offer any counselling?

Your solicitor will not be a qualified counsellor and will not be able to give you any psychological help. However, we can refer you on to organizations which can help you to recover if you wish.

Back to top

 


 

How can I go ahead and make a claim for compensation?

Fill in our online claims form and one of our experts will be able speak with you.

Back to top