Sexual Abuse By A Family Member Compensation Claims
By Meg Sodha. Last updated 19th January 2022. If you have experienced sexual abuse by a family member, our guide could help you understand the rights you have to seek compensation.
There are many different forms of sexual abuse that could potentially be committed by a family member. These include physical and non-contact forms of abuse. Subsequently, you could potentially gain compensation for both physical and mental injuries caused by either form of sexual abuse.
Making a sexual abuse claim can feel difficult since this type of abuse can cause a lot of harm and leave the survivor with traumatic memories. In this guide, we’ll help to explain what you need to be aware of if you are considering starting a claim against a family member on your own behalf or on behalf of someone else.
Within this guide, we’ll also talk about how abuse by a family member is defined. We’ll also discuss the different ways this type of abuse can occur and what injuries they can cause. We’ll also explain what the law says regarding sexual offences and how signs of sexual abuse may be identified.
This guide also explains different aspects of claiming compensation for sexual abuse by a member of your family. These include the process of starting a claim, potential time limits for starting a claim and potentially hiring a solicitor to support you.
You can contact UK Law for a private consultation if you have any questions about claiming compensation for sexual abuse.
Get In Touch With Our Team
For free specialist advice on sexual abuse claims, please don’t hesitate to contact our team. Our advisors can provide their expert insight into these types of criminal injury claims.
Additionally, they can also advise on how our panel of lawyers could help you through the different stages of your claim.
Any discussions with us about your potential claim are done in strict confidence. We can offer advice on other types of personal injury claims as well.
To get in touch with us, you can use the following details:
Services And Information
- What Is Sexual Abuse By A Family Member?
- The Law On Sexual Offences
- Injuries Caused By Sexual Abuse By A Family Member
- Sexual Abuse By A Family Member Compensation Calculator
- Signs Someone Is Being Sexually Abused By A Family Member
- Time Limits To Claim For Sexual Abuse By A Family Member
- I Suffered Sexual Abuse By A Family Member, What Should I Do?
- Claim For Sexual Abuse By A Family Member On A No Win No Fee Basis
- Contact Information For More Help
- Related Sexual Abuse Guides
Before starting a compensation claim for sexual abuse caused by a family member, it is worth defining what exactly it is. Sexual abuse is a crime that involves an individual participating in a sexual act which they did not consent to or which was forced upon them against their will.
Sexual abuse can occur in contact and non-contact form. Examples of non-contact abuse include verbal and online abuse.
If sexual abuse occurs between members of the same family, then that is known as familial sexual abuse, or intra-familial sexual abuse if the victim is a child.
In some cases, the ‘family member’ may not be a blood relative of the victim. They could still be considered part of the family if they are, for instance, a husband, godparent, stepparent or a very close friend.
Family members can be perpetrators of sexual abuse at any age. This type of abuse can occur between adults in the same family, or a child could be sexually abused by an adult relative. Family sexual abuse could also happen between two or more children.
Certain legislation, such as the Sexual Offences Act 2003, sets out which sexual acts are considered an illegal activity in the UK. When cases of sexual abuse are handled in criminal court (including those involving family members), the issue of consent is focused on.
Under section 74 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, consent is considered to have been given if someone engaging in sexual activity has agreed to it by choice and they have the freedom and capacity to make that choice. When sexual abuse by a family member occurs, it means the person lacked the capacity and/or freedom to give their consent to the activity.
In certain cases, in order to prove sexual abuse, it would need to be demonstrated that the sexual encounter happened without the person’s consent.
However, when looking at child sexual abuse, it’s not required to prove that the child didn’t consent. This is because all children are legally unable to consent to sexual contact with adults.
Subsequently, the focus would be on proving that the child was of an age that meant they couldn’t consent to the sexual contact.
Additionally, it would need to be proved that the incident of sexual abuse occurred in both adult and child abuse claims.
A wide range of physical and mental injuries can be inflicted on someone who is sexually abused by a family member. We have provided more information on these in the sections below.
Physical Injuries Caused By Sexual Abuse
Physical injuries that could occur following sexual abuse by a family member can include pain and damage in certain areas of the body and the contraction of certain diseases.
The exact physical injuries you could get depend on what forms of sexual abuse occur. If you experience physical pain after sexual abuse, then you may benefit from seeking medical help as soon as you can. If necessary, you could also get checked for sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy following sexual abuse.
We understand this may be difficult following an incident of abuse. However, it is important to ensure that any injuries you have sustained are treated correctly to avoid them worsening over time.
Furthermore, seeking medical care means there will be a record of your injuries which can be used as evidence in your claim.
Visit the NHS website to find a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) where you can receive specialist medical attention and support.
Psychological Harm Caused By Sexual Abuse
Severe and long-lasting psychological damage can be caused to a survivor of sexual abuse. This can happen regardless of whether the perpetrator is related to the person.
For some, the psychological harm may be more damaging compared to any physical injuries they sustained. Every single type of contact and non-contact sexual abuse can create mental injuries.
Potential psychological injuries a person who has experienced sexual abuse could suffer could include:
- Anxiety: You may feel restless or worried and may notice an impact on your concentration and sleeping pattern. Also, you may experience physical side effects such as dizziness or heart palpitations.
- Attachment disorder: You may find it difficult to connect or form meaningful relationships.
- Depression: You may experience lasting feelings of unhappiness or lose interest in things you use to enjoy.
- Personality disorder: Depending on the type of personality disorder you experience, you may get easily frustrated or have unstable relationships.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): You may experience flashbacks, have nightmares or become isolated and withdrawn.
If you are successfully able to claim for sexual abuse by a family member, then mental injuries you suffered because of it can be taken into account when your compensation is being calculated.
The amount of compensation that could be offered for sexual abuse claims depends on several factors. These include what exact injuries have been suffered by the victim and how severe they are. It also depends on where exactly your compensation comes from.
Often, compensation claims for sexual abuse by a family member are dealt with by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). They are responsible for awarding compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2012.
In the table below, we have included examples of CICA payouts that may be given for a sexual abuse claim. The figures are based on certain physical injuries which you may claim during a sexual abuse claim. The tariffs are taken from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2012.
|Type of Injury||Level of Severity||Award|
|Sexual Assault||That has resulted in a permanently disabling and severe mental illness||£27,000|
|Sexual Assault||Frequent and repetitive severe abuse over a period of 3 or more years||£8,200|
|Sexual Assault||Frequent and repetitive severe abuse for up to 3 years||£6,600|
|Sexual Assault||Minor sexual acts not involving penetration that occur over clothing||£1,000|
Sexual Abuse Claims For Multiple Injuries
In certain cases, you could claim criminal injuries compensation for multiple injuries. For example, if the incident of sexual abuse caused you to sustain a broken bone, you could claim for the act of abuse and the break.
However, different percentage levels may be applied when the CICA compensates for multiple injuries you’ve suffered. It means you’ll receive:
- 100% of the compensation tariff for the first (most serious injury) you suffered.
- 30% of the tariff is given for the second most serious injury.
- 15% of the tariff is given for your third most serious injury.
Additionally, there are cases where your compensation won’t be subject to these percentages. For example, if you become pregnant, lose a foetus or contract an STI as a result of sexual abuse, you could receive the full compensation award for the act of abuse and the effects of it.
Furthermore, the compensation you receive for sexual abuse may also take into consideration any psychological injuries you sustained as a result.
For more information on how CICA compensation payouts work, get in touch with our team.
There are certain physical, emotional and behavioural signs which you may notice which could indicate that someone is being abused in a sexual manner by someone. We have explored these in the following sections.
Signs That A Child Has Been Abused
If a child is facing sexual abuse by a family member, then they may not understand that what’s happening to them is wrong. Additionally, it may be more difficult for a child to understand what’s happening to them or speak about it if they have a disability.
But there are still physical signs and behaviours you could look out for which could ultimately help give a voice to children being abused.
Examples of physical signs could include bruises and any bleeding, discharge pain or soreness in the genital area. Common behavioural signs of a child being sexually abused could include the child becoming withdrawn or exhibiting anxious behaviour.
These symptoms and behaviours do not always mean that a child is being abused. However, if you see such signs and suspect abuse is occurring, then there are specialist organisations you could consult on what steps to take in response.
Signs Someone Is Abusing A Child
Certain behaviours which you may observe between a child and one of their family members could be a sign that the latter is abusing the former. For example, the family member may offer no explanation for the child’s injuries or explanations that are conflicting or unconvincing.
If you suspect that abuse may be occurring, then you could consider consulting a charity such as the NSPCC or Stop It Now for advice on what steps you could take.
There are certain time limits for starting a sexual abuse claim against a family member through the CICA. However, the time limit depends on different circumstances.
In cases where someone was an adult at the time they encountered sexual abuse, claims need to be started within two years from when the abuse happened.
However, there are exceptions. For instance, if there are exceptional circumstances that mean you couldn’t make an application earlier, the CICA may extend the time limit.
When a child is a victim of sexual abuse, other exceptions are made. For example, if the incident of abuse was reported to the police while you were under 18, you will have 2 years from your 18th birthday to put forward your claim.
Alternatively, before you turn 18 someone can make an application to the CICA on your behalf, such as a parent or a person with parental responsibility.
If the incident took place before you were 18 and wasn’t reported, you will have two years from the date you reported the incident.
For more information on the criminal injury claims time limits, speak to our team.
If you experience sexual abuse from a family member, there are a few actions you could consider, such as:
- Getting medical attention: You may find it difficult, but ensuring you receive medical attention for any injuries is important. Sexual Assault Reference Centres could provide specialist treatment and support following an incident of sexual abuse.
- Report the incident to the police: Although it can be difficult, you may find it beneficial to report the offence as soon as you reasonably can.
- Collect evidence: You could collect evidence in the form of photos, video footage, copies of texts or emails and witness contact details to support your claim.
- Seek legal advice: You may want to hire a solicitor to advise on the best way to make your claim. If you do hire a solicitor, we recommend that you hire one who has prior experience in handling sexual abuse compensation claims.
Please note, there are numerous organisations that survivors of sexual abuse can consider contacting for help and support. The NHS offers a comprehensive list of health services, charities and helplines you could consider if you have experienced sexual abuse.
Additionally, if you wish to connect with an experienced solicitor, call our team on the number above. An advisor could appoint a solicitor from our panel to advise you following sexual abuse by a family member.
Our panel of solicitors could handle your sexual abuse claim on a No Win No Fee basis. This type of agreement offers several benefits including:
- You will not be required to pay any upfront fees to your solicitor
- Should your case prove unsuccessful, you will not be required to pay solicitors fees.
- You can avoid paying ongoing costs that could incur while your claim is ongoing, such as medical fees.
You’ll need to pay a fee if your claim is successful to pay your solicitor for the work they’ve done. A small percentage of your compensation is usually taken by your solicitor to cover their costs. This is known as a success fee and it is capped by law.
If you need any advice on sexual abuse claims, contact us for free specialist advice. We are available for a confidential discussion through the following methods:
- Fill out our online claim form
- Speak with an advisor through our online live chat service below
- Call us on 020 3870 4868
For more help and support following sexual abuse, you might consider reading the following resources below.
You can read our separate guide which gives an overview for making a compensation claim for sexual abuse.
Visit our guide on claims for sexual abuse in a school.
See our guide to understand your next steps following an incident of sexual abuse by an ex-partner.
This NHS page offers guidance on domestic violence.
Visit the Criminal Injuries Compensation Guide on the government website.
Thanks for reading our guide on claims following sexual abuse by a family member.
Guide by ZS
Edited by BER