Abuse Survivors Blog

Claiming compensation from the CICA for non-recent child sexual abuse

Written by Jacqui Morton on 22 Feb 2024

AdobeStock_281539562Many victims of historical child sexual abuse are eligible to make an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (a government funded organisation that compensates victims of violent crime) for an award of financial compensation. This is particularly important for those who are prevented (for whatever reason) from pursuing a civil compensation claim.

Who is eligible to apply to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (hereinafter referred to as the CICA)? 

Victims who have suffered a physical or psychological injury as a result of a violent crime that took place in England and Wales are eligible to make an application to the CICA. Whilst a criminal conviction is not strictly necessary (although it certainly does assist) the victim must have reported the crime to the police and fully co-operate with them to help them bring the perpetrator to justice.

The CICA rules surrounding time limits in bringing an application

The application must reach the CICA within 2 years of the crime taking place if the crime was committed when the victim was an adult.  

If the crime was committed when the victim was a child (under the age of 18) and reported to the police before their 18th birthday, then the application must be received by the CICA by their 20th birthday. 

 If the crime was reported to the police when the victim is an adult (over the age of 18) then the application must be received by the CICA within 2 years of reporting to the police.  

The CICA has some discretion to allow an out of time application where there are exceptional circumstances that prevented the victim making the application in time. This is usually where the victim lacks capacity or suffers mental health issues. 

The CICA process

Whilst no two applications are the same they follow the same process which can be broken down into three steps.  

The first step in the process is submitting an application form to the CICA. This can be done on the telephone or online. The application is not lengthy but requires certain information such as details of the crime and the investigating police force and crime reference number.  

On receipt of an application the CICA will allocate it an individual reference number. The CICA will then begin investigating usually by requesting information from the investigating police force and medical records. The CICA will then assess the application and write to the applicant to let them know of their decision. If the application is successful the CICA will make an award based on tariffs of injuries from the CICA Scheme 2012. 

The second step is the review process.  If an applicant does not agree with the decision or award they can request that it be reviewed.  This usually requires the applicant to provide further information/evidence over and above that already provided and their reasons as to why the decision should be reviewed. The decision and any further information is reviewed by the CICA and the outcome sent to the applicant in writing.  

The final step is the appeal to the CICA tribunal. If the outcome of the review is still not satisfactory to the applicant they can ask the CICA tribunal to review it. The decision of the CICA tribunal is usually final.  

Emmott Snell Solicitors have represented many victims in their applications to the CICA. Many of these applications have been brought out of time and successful outcomes achieved. The CICA rules surrounding time limits and evidence can be complex and overwhelming. Emmott Snell Solicitors recently represented a victim who believed they were bringing their application in time but following investigation this was not the case.  

Case Study – “Mr G” 

Mr G was taken into the care of the local authority when he was a young child for a number of reasons including that Mr G had suffered sexual abuse from his mother’s boyfriend. Mr G was placed in a residential school for children with behavioural issues and/or learning difficulties. Mr G had little contact with his family and was vulnerable and alone.  Whilst a resident at this home he was sexually abused by two PE teachers. Mr G was also sexually assaulted by a social worker who was driving him to a foster care placement.  Mr G reported the abuse to an adult whilst he was a child. A criminal investigation ensued, and Mr G gave a video statement. During the statement Mr G told the police of the abuse he had suffered at the hands of his mum’s boyfriend and PE teachers but did not disclose that he had been harmed by a social worker. Mr G’s allegations weren’t prosecuted as the police decided there was insufficient evidence.  

As an adult Mr G decided to report the abuse he had suffered as a child to the police. Mr G was signposted to Emmott Snell Solicitors by an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor to assist him with making an application to the CICA. Emmott Snell Solicitors spoke to Mr G who confirmed that he had reported to the police as an adult which meant that he had two years from the date of reporting to make his application.  

Given the time that had passed and his mental health issues, Mr G could not remember many details that were required to make an application to the CICA. Emmott Snell Solicitors applied for and obtained Mr G’s medical records, social services records and police records to assist with this. The police records confirmed that Mr G had reported the sexual abuse as a child, which meant that his applications were in fact being made out of time. As the abuse had been reported to the police when he was a child, he should have made his applications by his twentieth birthday.  

Emmott Snell Solicitors made three separate applications on behalf of Mr G.  They carefully considered Mr G’s medical records, which confirmed he had suffered significant mental and physical ill health as an adult. This information was sent to the CICA as an explanation for why his application was being brought out of time. The CICA was persuaded by this and allowed the three applications.  

The CICA requested further medical evidence from our client’s treating psychiatrist to assist them in deciding Mr G’s application which was provided to them.  

Emmott Snell Solicitors regularly chased the CICA for updates on the progress of Mr G’s applications. Unfortunately, there was some delay due to a backlog caused by a number of factors including Covid. After some time, the CICA made three separate awards which between them amounted to a significant five figure sum. Mr G who was in receipt of benefits, decided to set up a personal injury trust to ringfence his benefits.

Whilst nothing can make up for the abuse that Mr G suffered as a child, it is hoped that the monetary award will help him move forward with his life.  

Mr G’s case is an example of how it is wise to seek legal advice when making an application to the CICA that is out of time and not straightforward.  

Emmott Snell are pleased to note that on his feedback questionnaire, Mr G rated Emmott Snell’s services as Excellent and commented that he was “very happy with the outcome”.  

If you are considering making an application to the CICA, please contact a member of our team who will be only to please to discuss this further with you.

The abuse survivor's guide to making a claim for compensation

Topics: CICA claims

Jacqui Morton

Written by Jacqui Morton

Jacqui is known for her hardworking and careful approach to any legal problem, her excellent rapport with clients and professionals.