Child Abuse

Being the victim of child abuse can impact your life forever. It can seriously and negatively impact your outlook on life. The kind of child abuse you may have been subjected to could have involved domestic, emotional, physical and sexual abuse but it can also be that you were neglected. Too many young people in the UK are forced to live with this type of behaviour being aimed at them which as a result can end up with them suffering from all sorts of health issues.

For more information on help and support for victims of child abuse, please read on.

Seeking Support and Help From Organisations and People Who Understand

If you were the victim of abuse when you were a child and your abuser had power and control over you, seeking support and help from people and organisations that understand what you were subjected to as a child, is essential. Like many other children who are abused, you may think that you are to blame for what is happening or what has happened to you. However, the reality is that abusive behaviour of any kind towards children is not acceptable and that an abused child is never at fault.

The Alarming Statistics of Child Abuse in the UK

Research carried out in the UK shows that around 1 in 4 adults were abused when they were children and these figures include both women and men. Some children who were abused are able to move on with their lives with the support and help of family members and close friends. With this said, a lot of people who were abused when they were young do not and their traumatic experiences stay with them for the remainder of their lives. Adults who were abused as children can find it difficult to talk about what happened to them which in itself negatively impacts their lives and relationships with other people.

What Are the Consequences of Child Abuse?

It does not matter what type of child abuse you were subjected to, whether neglect, physical, emotional or sexual, you are likely to keep your past experiences to yourself and as a result, this can lead to you suffering from the following emotions:

  • Intense feelings that are triggered by your traumatic experiences
  • Anxiety and fear
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder – PTSD
  • Depression
  • Sleep deprivation and sleep disorders
  • Self-harm and/or suicidal thoughts

If you experienced child abuse, you may also suffer from poor health as an adult because you find it difficult to do any of the following things:

  • Being examined by a doctor or your own GP
  • Finding hard or impossible to go to the dentist

The reason why you may find it that much harder or impossible to do either of the above, is because of your fear of being touched by someone else or asked questions that you may find it impossible to answer.

Like many other victims of child abuse, you may just want to put your traumatic experiences as a youngster to the back of your mind, keeping your emotions and feelings a secret when all of a sudden, you remember the experiences you were subjected to. Anything could trigger these intense feelings which could include any or all of the following:

  • A bereavement
  • A specific news item that you read
  • Moving house to another region of the country

You can get help which is provided by child abuse support groups and organisations which includes the following:

  • Victim Support

Victim Support provides help to victims of child abuse and being able to talk to someone who understands what you are going through, can help you cope with the overwhelming feelings and emotions you may be experiencing.

What You Can Do Having Been the Victim of Child Abuse

If you are finding it hard to cope with life because you were the victim of child abuse, getting help is crucial. Should you find it impossible to work and earn a living, you could also be entitled to seek compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. This is a government funded scheme that is there to help people who were subjected to traumatic experiences such as abuse as children.

The support groups and organisations you can contact if you need help and support include the following:

If you feel strong enough to discuss your childhood experiences with a solicitor who has the necessary experience and sympathetic approach to handling a claim for compensation, you may find that you are entitled to claim compensation through the CICA.

A solicitor would provide essential legal advice on whether your claim would meet the necessary criteria before recommending how to proceed with your case. The CICA criteria that must be met would include the following:

  • That your experiences were reported to the Police
  • That the Police fully investigated your case and that you cooperated fully with them
  • That you claim meets the CICA time limit of 2 years – which begins from the time you reported the childhood abuse you were subjected to the Police

If you contact a solicitor they can listen to your case and offer vital advice on how best to go about filing a claim for child abuse compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. The solicitor would also be able to tell you whether the CICA may agree to extend the deadline because there are exceptional reasons as to why you could not file for compensation within the time limit.

Do I Have to Report Child Abuse to the Police if I Want to File A CICA Claim?

Like many victims of childhood abuse, you may find it difficult to discuss your experiences with a stranger but it is important to remember that you are not alone. Many victims of child abuse find it hard to share their experiences because they worry what the outcome might be if they do. Just the thought of having to be put through a court appearance could be enough to put you off going forward with a claim for compensation through the CICA scheme. However, it is important to know that telling someone about what you were put through as a child can in itself be extremely liberating.

Today, the authorities which includes the Police are trained to handle this type of delicate and sensitive case and therefore, they fully understand how being abused as a child can affect you as an adult. The Police are aware that you may find it incredibly hard to confront your abuser. With this said, the Police would have to interview all parties which would include the following:

  • Your doctor or your psychologist if you have been receiving therapy or treatment
  • The witnesses
  • Your abuser/abusers

Would I Need to Go to Court If I Claim Child Abuse Compensation Through the CICA?

If you are worried about attending court if you file a child abuse claim for compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, you should contact a solicitor who would be able to offer vital legal advice on whether it would be necessary for you to do so. If the lawyer finds that your claim meets the “eligibility test” associated with CICA claims, you may not have to go to court.

To meet the eligibility test, the following would have to apply to your claim:

  • That a crime against you was committed on the “balance of probabilities”

Would My Child Abuse CICA Claim Be Private?

You may be worried that if you file a child abuse claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority you confidentiality and privacy would be compromised. However, the authority takes both your privacy and confidentiality very seriously and as such, ensures that all victims are protected. With this said, the only people who would be informed that you are filing a child abuse claim through the CICA scheme would be the following:

  • The Police – a crime report would be required as evidence if you file a child abuse claim through the CICA
  • Your GP or your psychologist because medical reports are needed to support your child abuse claim
  • The witnesses because statements would be required by the CICA and the Police

Your abuser would at no point in time during a CICA process be informed of the fact you have filed a child abuse claim through the Scheme. However, you have the right to file a civil suit against your abuser should you wish to but as previously mentioned, it is best to seek advice from a solicitor before you do.

Does it Take a Long Time to Receive Child Abuse Compensation Through the CICA Scheme?

When filing a child abuse claim through the CICA scheme, most cases are settled in around 12 to 18 months once the authority has received an application. You have two options when it comes to submitting your claim to the authority. This would dictate how the authority assess your child abuse claim.

  • You can choose to use the Police only evidence option
  • You can choose the Police evidence and medical evidence option

If you have any concerns at which route would be best for you, you should discuss things with a solicitor who would assess which would be better option more especially if as a result of having been the victim of child abuse, you suffer any sort of mental issues. If this is the case, the solicitor would recommend that you choose the Police and Medical evidence option to ensure that you are awarded the correct level of child abuse compensation through the CICA scheme.

However, if you do not suffer any mental issues, the solicitor would typically recommend that you opt for the “Police only” application. Should this be the case, a final settlement may be reached in around 6 months. With this said, should you choose the Police evidence only route, you may be awarded less in the way of child abuse compensation through the Criminal Injuries Scheme.

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Make a Child Abuse Claim

Although you can file a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority yourself, it is worth noting that the authority is not a charitable organisation nor is it a type of Ombudsman organisation. The CICA would assess your child abuse claim basing it on the strict eligibility criteria that must be met. Even if your case is straightforward, it is better to seek legal advice prior to submitting a child abuse claim to the CICA.

Child abuse claims filed through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority tend to be complicated legal procedures. There are many rules that must be respected and criteria that must be met for the authority to accept an application through the Scheme. As such, it is best to seek advice from a solicitor who has the necessary experience in handling this type of complex legal case. Solicitors understand that filing a child abuse claim can bring back unwanted memories of the what you were put through by an abuser and treat all aspects with sensitivity always treating you with the kind of respect you rightly deserve having been the victim of child abuse.

A solicitor would work closely with you to ensure that your claim meets the necessary criteria and that the evidence you have against your abuser would prove that a crime was committed against you and that the “balance of probability” is met.

Informative Links

If you were the victim of child abuse and would like more information regarding the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, please follow the link provided below:

More information on the CICA Scheme

If you would like to speak to someone who understands what you are going through having been the victim of child abuse, please follow the link below:

Help and Support from people who understand