LEGAL EAGLE: Fighting back on sexual abuse

An ever increasing number of sexual abuse survivors are reporting their abuse. People who were sexually assaulted in their family homes, in Schools, Churches and social activity groups are addressing the historic abuse suffered.

How survivors of abuse address their experiences is a decision for them but may include reporting the abuse to the Police, seeking counselling if required through a GP or other organisation and considering seeking compensation as part of the healing process.

Compensation may be available from a government organisation called the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) who make awards to victims of criminal violence subject to certain conditions being met.

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Increasingly survivors are seeking compensation direct from the person who assaulted them or the organisation who exercised control over the assailant at the time of the assault e.g. the Operators of a Children’s Home. Such claims can be made for both sexual assaults and physical assaults but can be subject to strict time limits. If you wish to investigate such a claim you should seek legal advice without delay.

In any claim made directly against the assailant it is only possible to benefit from such a claim if the person you are suing has the money to pay you. Without money then despite winning your case at Court you may be left with a piece of paper from the Court saying your assailant owes you money but you are likely to have little chance of getting it. If you are successful in a claim against any School, Church etc. then there is far more chance that you will receive the money you are owed because it is very likely they will have the money to pay you. Many survivors however obtain some satisfaction in obtaining an award of compensation directly from the person who abused them – they believe the person has then suffered loss themselves albeit only financially from the abuse / assaults they inflicted.

Compensation tends to be greater when recovered direct from the assailant / organisation rather than the CICA. We have successfully brought a number of claims both against individuals and organisations who “controlled” the individual at the time of the assault e.g. an employer. One such case against an individual which springs to mind is a client of ours who was deliberately shot by another person with a rifle. He suffered horrific injuries but we recovered compensation for him including his loss of earnings after directly suing the person who shot him.

If you have suffered sexual abuse or serious physical injury from an assault then speak to us – we cannot turn the clock back but we may be able to make life a little bit easier for the future.

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Ben Hoare Bell LLP has specialist historic abuse Solicitors that can advise you on issues including physical and sexual assault. To speak to them in confidence please ring 0191 565 3112 or email [email protected] Visit