Client R instructed Farleys Solicitors in 2019 having suffered sexual abuse in childhood at the hands of her stepfather. The case was dealt with by Jonathan Bridge who heads the Abuse Claims Department.
Without wishing to belittle Client R’s experiences the extent of the abuse was not as significant as in many of the cases we deal with. Under the terms of the CICA Scheme the abuse was relatively minor – it did not involve rape but did involve indecent assaults over a period of time. It was the applicant’s contention that she had been sexually abused by her stepfather with the acquiescence of her own mother.
Initial instructions were taken and a CICA claim submitted. Correspondence was entered in to with various parties before an initial refusal of compensation was made. The application was turned down because it was outside the two-year time limit for claims of this nature.
The applicant was over 50 years of age when the application was submitted and was complaining about incidents which occurred in approximately 1980. It was therefore a significant challenge to persuade the CICA to allow the claim to proceed and a review application was submitted. Evidence was produced to highlight the psychiatric impact of the abuse. Evidence was produced to justify the applicant’s delay in bringing the claim and to show that it would be easy to investigate the claim on the basis of previous police involvement.
Farleys were able to persuade the CICA on review to allow the claim to proceed notwithstanding that it was out of time.
The next problem was valuing the claim. Once the CICA had been persuaded to allow the claim to proceed out of time they made an offer to the applicant of £2,000. This was the correct offer on the basis of the sexual abuse that had occurred but failed to take account of the extent of the psychiatric injury that Client R had suffered.
An independent psychiatrist was instructed to prepare a report which suggested that the applicant had suffered a lifelong psychiatric injury as a result of the abuse which had impacted on her ability to work.
Evidence was obtained from the Department of Work and Pensions and from HMRC to establish the applicant’s work history and benefit receipt.
As a result, Farleys were able to put together a schedule of past and future loss taking account of all benefits received. An appeal to the Upper Tier Tribunal was successful and following service of schedules and counter schedules an award was eventually made of £168,957.
This case highlights the importance of using a specialist solicitor in dealing with historic sexual abuse CICA claims. The results are complex. It is important to know what evidence needs to be furnished to overcome the “two-year rule”. It is also important to understand how awards are made for psychiatric injury and what evidence is required to support a loss of earnings claim. It is particularly important to ensure that matters are not “over complicated” and that accurate evidence is produced not only in relation to earnings lost but also in relation to benefits received so that a significate loss of earnings claim can be successfully contended – in this case the applicant received over £129,000 in relation to this aspect of the case.
The applicant was understandably delighted at the outcome having initially had the application refused and thereafter turned down an offer of £2,000 eventually recovering almost £170,000 in relation to the abuse that she has suffered.
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