School Child Abuse Compensation Claims
By Lewis Aaliyah. Last Updated 22nd March 2023. This guide offers advice and guidance on pursuing school abuse claims, especially centred around sexual abuse.
Today there is growing awareness of the issue of sexual abuse of children and young people. There’s also awareness of how institutions and people in positions of power can be held to account if they’ve failed in their duty to protect those under their care.
If you or your child has been the victim of sexual abuse in schools, we could help you make a claim. You could be entitled to seek compensation against the perpetrator or against the school where the abuse took place. You could also make a claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
This guide is here to help you decide whether to make a criminal injury claim by informing you about the law and your rights.
Our dedicated advisors and our panel of No Win No Fee solicitors are just the people you might need. If you contact our advisors, they offer free legal advice and, if you have a favourable claim, could connect you with our panel of solicitors.
Our panel of solicitors are experts with years of experience, who can provide you with advice and legal representation to help you win the compensation that you or your child deserves. You can reach them through the contact details below.
Get In Touch With Our Team
- Call us on 020 3870 4868
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Services And Information
- Sexual Abuse In Schools
- What Is Duty Of Care In Schools?
- School Abuse Claims – The Criteria
- Laws On Child Sexual Abuse And Assault
- Types Of Sexual Abuse In A School
- Sexual Abuse In A School: Compensation Calculator
- School Child Abuse Claims – How Long Do You Have?
- How A Litigation Friend Could Help You
- How Do You Report Sexual Abuse In A School?
- School Abuse Claims – Gathering Evidence
- School Abuse Claims – Help From No Win No Fee Lawyers
- Related Sexual Abuse Claims Guides
As stated by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), child sexual abuse is when a child is forced or incited to participate in a sexual activity. They may not be aware of what is occurring and violence may not always be involved. In this article, we will focus on child sexual abuse that occurs in a school setting.
Sexual abuse in schools could result in significant, long-lasting psychiatric harm. In some cases, the symptoms may not manifest until later on in the young person’s life, such as with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Please continue reading to find out how to sue a school for negligence that led to sexual abuse. Alternatively, get in touch for free legal advice.
Schools and teachers should provide an education for the students to the best of their ability. However, they also have a duty of care in regards to safeguarding.
The school and its teachers must do everything reasonably within their power to ensure that the students are safe. When a child is in school, the teachers and the school staff are acting ‘in loco parentis’ (in the place of a parent) and are responsible for their safety. They must do as much as they reasonably can to keep children safe from all forms of foreseeable harm.
Sexual abuse can be a breach of this duty of care by the staff member who committed the abuse and the school if they could’ve prevented the abuse from occurring. The school as an institution has a responsibility to ensure that anyone who could pose a threat to children is not permitted to work with them and that all reports of sexual harassment are dealt with properly.
In this section, we discuss how to sue a school for negligence in the UK. If you or your child has experienced sexual abuse due to negligence on the school’s behalf, you might have grounds for a valid criminal injury claim. However, it’s important that you can show:
- The school breached their duty of care towards you or your child
- This breach of duty led to your or your child experiencing school abuse
For school abuse claims to be successful, you will need to collect evidence; the types of evidence required will be different depending on if you are claiming through the CICA or against the school directly. Get in touch today to find out more.
Compensation And Prosecution
A compensation claim does not preclude a criminal prosecution from being brought against those who have committed sexual abuse. However, it’s important to note that prosecution is a separate matter from a compensation claim.
A child is classed under the law as anyone under the age of 18. Child sexual abuse is any situation in which an adult or another child coerces or incites a child to engage in sexual activities.
Laws that aim to protect children from sexual abuse include the below.
- Protection of Children Act 1978: This aims to prevent the exploitation of children by penalising the distribution, showing and advertising of indecent photographs of children.
- Sexual Offences Act 2003: This aims to prevent child sexual abuse and protect children from harm from sexual acts.
Sexual abuse can consist of sexual acts including:
- Kissing and touching both over and under the clothes
It can also occur without physical contact. Examples of non-contact abuse include:
- Exposing a child to sexual acts
- Making a child watch sexual acts being performed or view pornography
Under the law, a child cannot legally give their consent to have sex or to engage in sexual behaviour with an adult.
In school, a child could be subjected to sexual abuse by other children or by adults who work in the school, including teachers. Children could be forcibly subjected to sexual assault, bullied or threatened into complying with sexually abusive acts or groomed into allowing the abuser to commit sexually abusive acts.
A teacher or other staff member could engage in sexual abuse by exploiting their position of authority and trust with a student. A teacher could groom a child, offering them favourable treatment and establishing a bond of trust before making them engage in sexual acts.
An abuser in a school could use their authority to make a child comply with sexual abuse. For example, a teacher or other staff member could threaten to punish a child if they refuse to allow the abuse. Additionally, they could convince the child that they would get in trouble if they were to tell anybody about the abuse.
Compensation could be claimed for sexual abuse you have experienced based on the harmful effects it had on you at the time and the lasting effects since. Specifically, you could claim compensation for psychological damage.
The effects of sexual abuse can vary from person to person. They can include anxiety and depression.
In order to claim, you would need to prove that you have suffered. You would also have to prove that the suffering was caused or exacerbated by the child abuse. Therefore, we always advise having an independent medical assessment as part of a claim.
During the assessment, a medical professional would discuss your symptoms with you privately and create a report. Your solicitor, if you choose to use the services of one, could then use this to value your injuries. They could also use it to help prove your claim.
We’ve created a compensation table below using figures taken from the Judicial College Guidelines. (This is a publication solicitors may use when valuing injuries.)
|Severe Sexual Abuse||Abuse leading to severe psychiatric problems to the victim||£45,000 to £120,000|
|Severe PTSD||Trauma that stops the victim from functioning as they had done in life, at work and in relationships.||£59,860 to £100,670|
|Moderately severe PTSD||Similar to the above, but with a better prognosis.||£23,150 to £59,860|
|Moderate PTSD||A significant recovery from trauma and any continuing symptoms won't be disabling.||£8,180 to £23,150|
|Less severe PTSD||Cases where the victim makes a practically full recovery from trauma in under two years.||£3,950 to £8,180|
|Severe psychiatric damage||Severe negative impact on relationships and ability to cope with life, education and work.||£54,830 to £115,730|
|Moderately severe psychiatric damage||The same problems as above, but with a better prognosis.||£19,070 to £54,830|
|Moderate psychiatric damage||Severe psychiatric damage that the victim has made a marked recovery from.||£5,860 to £19,070|
|Less severe psychiatric damage||Cases in which the victim has made a full recovery apart from minor symptoms.||£1,540 to £5,860|
The figures in the above compensation table are only reflective of those recommended for personal injury claims. If you claim through CICA, the awards may vary.
If you’d like a free estimate of what you could claim, get in touch with our advisors.
School child abuse claims, like all sexual abuse claims, need to be started within a time limit. This can vary depending on the type of claim you are making. It is usually two years if you are claiming through the CICA or 3 years if you are claiming against the faulting party directly. However, exceptional circumstances can extend the time limit for a child abuse compensation claim to be made.
These could include:
- A person under the age of 18 cannot start a claim for child abuse compensation until they turn 18. Once they turn 18, the time limit is three years. However, a litigation friend can claim child abuse compensation on their behalf at any time during the suspension. We look further into the role of litigation friends in the claiming process below.
- Lacking the mental capacity to claim child abuse compensation suspends the time limit indefinitely. However, a litigation friend can start a sexual abuse claim at any time on their behalf. Should the claimant regain capacity, then the time limit starts from the date they’re deemed to have regained their capacity.
Call our advisors to discuss how the time limit applies in school child abuse claims.
A litigation friend is someone who manages a compensation claim on behalf of someone else who is unable to do it themselves. People who are under the age of 18 or lack the capacity to make a claim could be represented by a litigation friend.
A litigation friend could be a parent, guardian, social worker, solicitor or someone with power of attorney for the victim. Their responsibilities include;
- Liaising with a solicitor
- Attending court, if necessary
- Making decisions on behalf of the person they represent and acting in their best interests
- Paying legal fees, again, if necessary
If you become aware of sexual abuse being inflicted on your child, or you have experienced sexual abuse yourself, you have the option to report it.
You could report the abuse to the school. Staff should be trained in how to respond to reports of abuse from children and the school may have a Designated Safeguarding Lead.
The NSPCC has advice on reporting abuse and you can speak to them about your concerns. The charity is dedicated to preventing abuse of children and has significant powers to do so. You can contact them through their website or by calling them.
Additionally, you have the option of contacting the police. You could report your experience of abuse. The police have special investigators and sexual abuse counsellors for handling claims made by victims of sexual abuse. (If you wish to make a claim through CICA, it is necessary to report the abuse to the police.)
In this section, we want to discuss examples of evidence that might be used in school abuse claims. It’s important to provide supporting evidence in order to boost your chances of being awarded child abuse compensation.
When making a CICA claim, you’ll be asked to provide a police reference number. Additionally, to obtain medical evidence, you may be assessed by a medical expert.
If you were to claim directly against the school, you’ll need proof that the school breached their duty of care resulting in the sexual abuse. Therefore, you might consider collecting:
- The contact details of any witnesses who saw the abuse.
- Photographic evidence of any criminal injuries. For example, any bruises or cuts.
- Evidence of any financial harm, such as receipts or bank statements.
We understand that the process of gathering evidence might be difficult. If you would like a criminal injury claims solicitor to assist you during this process, speak to our advisors and they could connect you. Our panel of specialist solicitors are trained in dealing with school abuse claims.
After suffering child abuse, a compensation claim may be something you wish to pursue. We would recommend working with a solicitor to help you claim. They can help you collect evidence and potentially negotiate with the faulting party if necessary.
If you are worried about the financial risk of using a lawyer, you could mitigate the risk by working with a No Win No Fee lawyer. Working with a lawyer on this basis means you won’t have to pay your lawyer’s legal fees if your claim fails. Should your claim succeed, a success fee is taken from your compensation by your lawyer. You won’t ever be overcharged either since the fee they deduct is capped.
Furthermore, No Win No Fee lawyers typically require no payment upfront to begin working on your case. Therefore, they can almost immediately begin gathering evidence for your school abuse claim after enlisting their help.
If you want to work with a lawyer from our panel under this arrangement, or if you have additional questions on school abuse claims, speak to our advisors via the following ways:
- Use the live chat feature on your screen
- Give us a call at any time on 020 3870 4868
- Fill out a claim online form, and we’ll call you
We’ve also included links to some other guides about school abuse claims.
- Sexual abuse by a family member
- Sexual abuse by an ex-partner
- Compensation for sexual abuse claims
- Report child abuse: Government advice
- What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused: Government advice
Checked by HT