Can I Claim Compensation For Historical Abuse?

By Stephen Wilson. Last Updated 5th January 2023. Within this guide, we will look at the process of making a claim seeking compensation for historical abuse. Historical, or non-recent abuse, is a term often used to describe abuse suffered by an adult back during a time when they were a child.

Historical abuse

Historical abuse claims guide

You may be able to claim compensation for the harm caused by this abuse. There are two main channels through which you can do this; directly against the perpetrator or through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

Our team are available to offer free legal advice about the process of claiming for non-recent abuse. Contact us by:

Choose A Section

  1. What Is Historical Abuse?
  2. Available Support For Victims Of Historical Abuse
  3. Could I Make A Compensation Claim For Historical Abuse?
  4. How To Calculate Sexual Abuse Compensation
  5. Using A No Win No Fee Solicitor For An Abuse Claim
  6. Find Out More About Historical Abuse Claims

What Is Historical Abuse?

Historical abuse (or ‘non-recent’ abuse) is when an adult was abused in some way as a child or young person under the age of 18. It can relate to a single incident or multiple occasions of sexual abuse.

Sexual or physical abuse is a crime whatever the age of the person it is perpetrated against. The Sexual Offences Act 1956 applies to crimes committed before May 2004, whereas the Sexual Offences Act 2003 applies to offences committed after this date.

Child sexual abuse is defined by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) as enforcing or inciting a child to engage in sexual acts. Child sexual abuse is still abuse whether or not the child recognises that there is anything wrong. If you would like to, you are welcome to contact our team online at any time to ask questions if you are looking for any advice regarding specifically child abuse compensation claims.

Historical Abuse Statistics

The Office of National Statistics offers details on the prevalence of sexual abuse during childhood. Their Crime Survey for England and Wales for the year ending 2019 revealed that:

  • According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) an estimated 3.1 million adults between the ages of 18 to 74 years had experienced a type of sexual abuse before the age of 16 years.
  • This is equivalent to 7.5% of the population in this age bracket
  • 3% of adults in the same period and age bracket experienced non-contact sexual abuse before 16 years of age.
  • Over half (54%) adults sexually abused before the age of 16 also experienced more than one type of sexual assault
  • Women are more likely than men to have experienced multiple types of sexual abuse (39% compared with 26%).

Read on to find out more about where you can get support for historical abuse. Alternatively, get in touch with our team of advisors for free legal advice.

Available Support For Victims Of Historical Abuse

While our team are able to offer legal advice, we appreciate that you may require some help and support related to

  • The Survivors Trust – The broadest ‘umbrella’ agency for rape and sexual abuse services in the UK
  • Survivors UK – advocate on behalf of boys, men and non-binary people who have been affected by rape or sexual abuse
  • Rape Crisis – a network of independent rape crisis centres across the country, providing geographic contact resources.
  • Refuge – helping people rebuild their lives and overcome domestic, sexual or emotional violence.
  • Victim Support – an independent charity that offers practical and emotional support for victims or those who witness a crime.
  • Support Line – who offer confidential emotional support on the phone or by email to children, young adults and adult abuse survivors.

Emotional support and compensation can both be valuable ways to enable survivors to put their negative experiences behind them and move on. However, if you would like legal advice about claiming for historical abuse, speak with a member of our team today.

Could I Make A Compensation Claim For Historical Abuse?

Compensation for historical abuse may be sought after in two separate ways depending on the specific circumstances. If you can identify your abuser and they have sufficient funds to award you compensation, it may be possible to make a personal injury claim against them directly.

If applicable to your situation, you may also be able to claim against an organisation that failed to properly check the background of your abuser before employing them or failed to act on reported concerns from others at the time. For instance, if you were sexually abused at a school and the member of staff who did it had a prior record of sex offences, then you may be able to claim if the school that employed this staff member did not perform a DBS check before hiring them.

When you make a claim against the person who abused you directly, or against an organisation, the time limit is generally three years. However, there are exceptions that can apply to this; please get in touch with our advisors for more information on whether you’re within the time limit to make a claim.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)

Another pathway to historical abuse compensation can be through the government-sponsored executive agency Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) You can claim through the CICA even if the person responsible for the crime has never been charged or even identified.

There are strict eligibility criteria to qualify for a CICA award. In order to claim, you must have reported the crime to the police. The crime should have been reported as soon as possible; this is usually straight after the incident occurred, but the CICA may make exceptions if you can prove that you were not able to do this right away.

Historical sexual abuse could be subject to one of these exceptions. If you were very young when the abuse happened, then you may not have been able to report this to yourself. In some cases, you may not realise that anything wrong was happening until years down the line.

What Can I Claim Through The CICA?

The CICA pay out compensation for injuries based on their tariff of injuries. You can only receive compensation for 3 injuries from this tariff, and only the highest valued will be paid at the full amount. The second and third highest valued injuries will be paid at 30% and 15% of the tariff amount respectively.

In addition to this, the CICA can give awards for special expenses that directly relate to the abuse. They must be reasonable, necessary and a direct result of the crime you’re claiming for.

In order to claim special expenses, you will need to have experienced a loss of earnings for at least 28 full weeks after the incident. There are a range of special expenses that will be backdated; however, if you wish to claim loss of earnings, this will only be paid from the 29th week onwards.

For more information on the process of claiming for historical abuse, speak with one of our advisors today. You could be connected with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel.

How To Calculate Sexual Abuse Compensation

The table we’ve included below illustrates some of the CICA tariffs amounts that you could receive in a claim for historic abuse compensation:

InjuryTariff AmountNotes
Sexual abuse with additional damagesUp to £500,000Loss of earnings, special expenses, and additional injuries can be compensated for.
Penile penetration of one or more of vagina, anus or mouth (non-consensual)£44,000A permanent and severely disabling mental illness with internal bodily injuries of a serious nature.
£33,000A permanent and moderately disabling mental illness with serious internal bodily injuries.
£27,000Severe mental illness that is permanent and disabling. This will be confirmed by psychiatric prognosis.
£22,000Internal bodily injuries of a serious nature.
£22,000Moderate mental illness that is permanent and disabling. This will be confirmed by psychiatric prognosis.
£13,500There are two or more attackers involved.
£11,000There is one attacker involved.
Sexual Assault£27,000Mental illness of a severe nature which is confirmed by psychiatric prognosis.
£22,000Serious internal bodily injuries.

These values reflect what can be offered when claiming for different forms of sexual abuse through the CICA. To allow your potential claim to succeed, you may be asked to provide medical evidence in support of your injuries.

If you make a direct claim against the person or organisation responsible for the abuse, then your compensation can be valued using a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines. These guidelines are based on past compensation awards that have been made.

If you’re making a direct claim, you could also be awarded special expenses. This can cover any loss of earnings or financial impact that the incident has had on you. You should keep hold of any evidence to demonstrate these losses and expenses.

Using A No Win No Fee Solicitor For An Abuse Claim

If you choose to claim compensation with our help, we can connect you with a solicitor who could work for you on a No Win No Fee basis. This kind of agreement means that in the event of an unsuccessful outcome, there is nothing to pay your solicitor. You also won’t be asked to pay them anything in the event that you aren’t awarded compensation.

If you are awarded compensation, a legally-capped success fee will be taken from your compensation award. This is subject to a legal cap, preventing you from being overcharged.

Whether it’s a direct claim or one through the CICA, the skill, insights and expertise of a No Win No Fee lawyer could help. They can accurately evaluate your historical abuse compensation request and guide your claim appropriately.

Talk To An Advisor About Filing A Historical Abuse Claim

With this in mind, contact our team today about your claim. Find out how the services of a trained and sympathetic No Win No Fee solicitor could help you by:

Find Out More About Historical Abuse Claims

As well as the highlighted resources in this article about historical abuse, you can learn more from the following:

You can also check out some more of our other guides below: