Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week: Your right to compensation

5th Feb 2020
Lisa Boyle

Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week: Your right to compensation

Sexual abuse compensation doesn’t undo what has happened, however it can provide an element of justice and support to the victims who have suffered trauma.

Many people who have gone through sexual abuse or violence need extra support in terms of psychological help and assistance, and compensation can help them to move forward with their lives.

At Watermans we recognise how difficult, and often triggering, it can be to come forward and seek advice in relation to domestic abuse and sexual abuse.

In terms of your rights to claim compensation, survivors have two main options.


Upset Girl


These include either a civil Court action against the party responsible or a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. There are different time limits to consider for each.

Speaking on Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week 2020, Heather Tierney, a senior solicitor at Watermans, explains your rights when it comes to making a claim.



She said: “The general rule for actions of negligence is that any right to claim compensation will automatically be extinguished three years from the date you knew (or ought to have known) that the negligence caused you to sustain injury unless court proceedings have been raised prior to this date.

“If you were a minor at the time of the incident(s), this would give you a civil action deadline of your 19th birthday. You may have seen in the news that a piece of Scottish legislation has effectively removed this time limit in certain abuse cases for civil actions. This means that some victims who suffered from abuse more than three years ago could still be entitled to compensation.

The UK’s annual awareness week is dedicated to bringing together organisations and communities to promote awareness of sexual abuse and sexual violence.


Our lawyers have many years’ experience of working with survivors of abuse and will always have your best interests at heart.

Heather Tierney has handled a number of sensitive cases, is an expert at listening, and is thoughtful and considered when explaining the options open to you.

Heather continued: “The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority on the other hand is a government scheme which has its own rules in terms of the deadline for submission of a claim.

“The Scheme states that in general terms if abuse was reported to the police before you turned 18, you only have until your 20th birthday to submit a CICA claim. If you were an adult at the time of the incident(s), you have two years from the date of the incident to submit a CICA claim.

“This area of law can be complex and usually takes a considerable period of time to reach a conclusion. Another issue to consider is that if the individual responsible is not of financial means, there may be little scope to pursue them via a Civil Court action.

“This leaves survivors with only CICA as a potential source of compensation for their trauma and there are no guarantees that an application will be successful even if it is made within the required time limits.”

It is always worthwhile getting legal advice if you have been a victim of sexual or domestic abuse. Our experts at Watermans will be able to give you clear and impartial advice as to the best way forward for you.

If you have experienced sexual abuse or sexual violence, you may be entitled to compensation. Please contact us for an assessment of your case.