Home » Can You Claim Personal Injury Compensation for Sexual Assault or Rape?

Can You Claim Personal Injury Compensation for Sexual Assault or Rape?

January 18, 2023,
Lucy Culpin,
assault and abuse compensation

Trigger warning: This blog contains content that some readers may find upsetting

 

If you have suffered from sexual assault or rape, it is important to understand that you could make a claim for compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

If you yourself have not, but you know somebody that has suffered from a traumatic experience, it is key that they know they have your support – you may also find this guide useful to explain why they could make a claim for compensation through the CICA with your support. The CICA scheme was set up to allow you (or the person you know who has suffered) to make a claim without the need for lawyers, although this comes with its difficulties.

Below you will find a useful summary of the CICA scheme and the steps to consider.

 

Benefits of having a lawyer assist you with your CICA claim:

  1. You can take a step back from your case. Cases surrounding sexual assault and rape are extremely distressing. It will involve many reminders of the ordeal you have been through. On top of that, without legal representation, you must deal with all of the responsibilities of your claim yourself – meeting deadlines and other requirements. A lawyer can provide some emotional separation between the events which caused your injuries and the running of your case.
  2. The CICA reject many claims on technicalities. We are experienced with using the scheme and can take responsibility for the running of your case for you. This will alleviate some pressure off you during an already stressful time.
  3. You might not receive the right amount of compensation. The CICA can sometimes pay too little compensation. Without expert advice from a lawyer, it will be difficult to be sure whether you have received what you are entitled to receive.
  4. The CICA sends quite a lot of paperwork with time limits to respond. These time limits are strict. If you do not like paperwork, our advice is to give it someone who deals with paperwork for a living.
  5. Advice you can trust. If you are intending to seek legal representation, our advice is to be dubious of using Claims Management Companies. Their fees are likely to be similar to those of lawyers. Lawyers are more likely to know what they are doing. Here at Truth Legal we offer a more personal approach, you will have the mobile number of your lawyer for direct contact with them, we do not have 100’s of files each like many Claims Management Companies.

 

Many survivors do not want to discuss their experiences and so it is important that you choose the right solicitors to speak to and guide you through this process. We have a team of male and female lawyers to suit your preference. We will listen to your needs and guide you at a pace that you feel comfortable with.

 

Tips to ensure safe communications with your lawyer

We understand that for some people the perpetrator can be somebody that has been very close to you, such as a partner, ex-partner or a relative. In these situations, the perpetrator may have access to your personal information such as your email and social media accounts. In some situations, your perpetrator may be someone who continues to harass and cause nuisance to you, such as calling you pretending to be someone else.

Here at Truth Legal we are used to dealing with these situations and it is important that we take steps to safeguard your private discussions with your lawyer. If you feel you are in a situation like this, or you would feel more comfortable with some added security when speaking with your lawyer about your case, please tell us in your initial enquiry with us. We can agree a password which we will give you whenever we call you so that you can be confident that you are speaking with your lawyer.

If you are worried that any communications with your lawyer may be intercepted, we recommend setting up a new email address to correspond with your lawyer so that the perpetrator will not have access to, or knowledge of, the email account.

 

Reporting the crime to the police

To strengthen any claim of this nature, it is helpful to your case if you contact the police as soon as possible to report the crime and seek medical attention. Nevertheless, we understand that it takes a lot of courage to report crimes of this nature and we understand fully that this can take time. Regardless of when you report the crime, it is important that you are as thorough as possible within your statement to the police as this will later be used as your main piece of evidence.

If you have already reported your assault at the time to the police, then they may have already directed you to use the CICA scheme, if you haven’t, you may be able to report your assault to the police later before your time to claim begins to run. You will need a crime reference number in order to claim using the CICA scheme.

You have 2 years from the incident to claim compensation for your injuries. And in some cases, you have 2 years from when you first report the crime to the police to make a claim under the CICA scheme. This is explained below.

 

The CICA

If you have been sexually assaulted or raped, you are entitled to claim compensation through the CICA scheme.

Eligibility to claim

In most cases you must apply within 2 years of the crime happening, unless you are claiming as a result of childhood sexual or physical abuse, then you may be able to claim within 2 years of reporting the crime to the police, not within 2 years of the crime itself.

If you were sexually assaulted or raped between 1 August 1964 and 30 September 1979, and you lived with the perpetrator before 1 October 1979, the deadline to apply for compensation has passed (unless one of the exceptions below applies). This is known as the ‘same roof’ rule.

The exceptions to the ‘same roof’ rule are:

  • You were a child at the time of the crime;
  • You could not claim at the time due to exceptional circumstances;
  • You’ve made a claim before;
  • You’ve made a claim before but it was refused or reduced because of the ‘same roof’ rule, you can reapply if you are eligible.

Nationality under the scheme

You must have been one of the following when the crime happened:

  • a British citizen or EU or EEA national (or their close relative);
  • a family member of an EU or EEA national who has the right to be in the UK;
  • a member of the armed forces (or you’re a close relative living in their household)
  • you have been subjected to human trafficking on or before the date of your application – this must be confirmed by the UK Human Trafficking Centre and UK Visas and Immigration;
  • an asylum seeker;
  • a national of a country that has signed up to the Council of Europe Convention on the Compensation of Victim of Violent Crimes;
  • someone ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK at the time of the crime i.e. you were living, working or studying in the UK (or you are a family member of someone who was).

Tariff system

The CICA scheme uses a tariff-based system to decide on the amount of compensation you will be awarded. The amount of compensation paid by the CICA depends upon the frequency and extent of any sexual assault/rape as well as your age at the time (children are classified differently to adults).

Where someone has suffered a number of injuries as part of a pattern of sexual assaults which would otherwise qualify for separate payments, payments will normally be made to reflect the pattern of abuse, based on the most serious incidents in the pattern, rather than each separate incident. An exception to this would be where a single incident occurred as part of the pattern of abuse which would attract a higher tariff payment than that for the pattern of abuse, in which case they may receive a higher payment instead of the award for the pattern of abuse.

When assessing compensation, the CICA will consider the following factors:

  • Physical/internal injuries;
  • Psychological damage (in limited cases);
  • Sexually transmitted infections;
  • Pregnancy resulting from the assault – note that there is no claim for the cost of raising any child that may result;
  • Loss of pregnancy resulting from a violent assault;
  • Lost income if the period of absence from work exceeds 28 weeks.

Below, the tariff system is explained in more detail, giving examples of what tariffs certain sexual offences may attract, which some readers may find upsetting.

Adult compensation range

The compensation tariffs for adults ranging from the minimum payment to the maximum payment:

  • A single incident of sexual assault without penetration and over clothing could attract £1,000.
  • One incident of full penetrative rape by one perpetrator could attract at least £11,000.
  • An incident of full penetrative rape resulting in serious internal bodily injury with permanent and severe disabling mental illness could attract £44,000.

There are various levels in between that will depend on factors in each individual case.

There is a separate, but similar range of tariffs for sexual assault and rape of children.

In cases of sexual assault and rape, there are further tariff payments which can be made where someone has sustained any of the following as a result of the crime. These payments will not be subject to the multiple injury formula of this scheme (explained above).

  • Pregnancy as a result of rape may attract an extra £5,500.
  • Sexually transmitted infection other than HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C with substantial recovery may attract an extra £5,500.
  • Sexually transmitted infection other than HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C with permanent disability may attract an extra £11,000.
  • Infection with one or more of HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C may attract an extra £22,000.
  • Loss of foetus may attract an extra £5,500.

Lost income

You may be able to claim for loss of earnings and/or expenses if you are absent from work as a result of sexual assault or rape. You usually have to be unable to work or have very limited ability to work for 28 weeks or longer to be eligible.

You will not be paid any loss of earnings for the first 28 weeks you were unable to work.

You must have been employed when the crime happened or for the 3 years immediately before it. If you were not employed, you might still be eligible if you could not work, for example because you were in full-time education, retired or caring for someone.

 

The process of your CICA claim

The CICA is set up so that people may navigate the system without the assistance of lawyers. They have a contact number for assistance with submitting your claim or you can also make use of voluntary organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau when completing the application (although note that you will not necessarily have a lawyer advising you at the other end of the phone).

You are able to submit the claim online and you will then be given a reference number which you will be able to quote whenever you contact the CICA about your claim.

Your claim will be assessed on:

  • the information you provided in your application;
  • information from the police, including the evidence you gave them;
  • your criminal record;
  • medical evidence (if it’s needed).

The CICA will contact you if they need more information and when they make a final decision.

Medical evidence

You will be told by the CICA if you need to provide medical evidence. It can cost up to £50. If you are claiming as a result of a recent rape or penetrative sexual assault, it is very likely you will need to provide medical evidence.

You can contact the CICA if you need help getting or paying for the evidence.

You might be asked for more evidence by the CICA depending on your injury. This could involve an in-person assessment by an expert.

You will not have to pay for any additional evidence that the CICA asks you to provide.

 

Compensation

Once the CICA has received your application, they will decide whether to accept your claim.

If accepted, once the CICA has received all of the evidence, they will decide on the amount of compensation based on the tariff system. They will then tell you the amount they are going to award you.

 

Funding your case

Legal fees are not recoverable in CICA claims, unlike in civil assault claims.

We use a damages-based agreement ‘DBA’ in order for you to fund your claim. This means that payment depends on the success of your claim. If your claim is not successful, you will not be charged for our service. If your claim is successful, a percentage of your compensation will be used as payment so there will be no ‘out of pocket’ expenses to you.

 

Appeals

You can appeal the CICA’s decision at the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal if you are refused compensation or you are unhappy with the amount awarded.

Please note that you have 90 days to appeal the CICA’s decision if you wish to do so.

You can find more information on appeals here: https://www.gov.uk/criminal-injuries-compensation-tribunal/appeal-to-tribunal

 

Our dedicated personal injury team are able to assist you with your CICA claim, contact us today to discuss whether you have a claim with no obligation to proceed further.

We also have a dedicated family team. They can help if your sexual assault/rape has arisen as a result of domestic abuse and you want to take legal steps to safeguard yourself/your children from the perpetrator. Contact us today to discuss your situation.

 

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Post by

Lucy Culpin

Lucy Culpin

Lucy is a Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Solicitor at Truth Legal.

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