Can I Claim Compensation for Abuse when I was a Child?

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Nathalie Swanwick

Abuse Claims Solicitor

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Although it may be many years before you speak out about the abuse you experienced as a child, you may still be able to claim compensation for child abuse.

We will take a closer look at how you can start a claim for compensation as a result of child abuse. We’ll also offer an explanation of how the process works through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). We’ll also cover the potential compensation amounts and the time limits for both types of claims.

a black and white picture of a young girl sat on a public bench


You may be able to claim compensation either directly from the person who abused you or from the institution that was responsible for them, such as an employer or Local Authority through a civil (personal injury) claim. You may also be eligible for damages by making a Criminal Injury Abuse claim, even if your abuser hasn’t been convicted of the crime.

For free legal advice contact our Abuse Claims Solicitors so we can examine the details of your case and advise you on how best to proceed. Ask about Legal Aid or if we can deal with your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis.

Get in touch today!

To see how our expert abuse solicitors can help you claim for historic abuse, call our team on 0808 239 1287 or

Child Abuse Compensation

An estimated 3.1 million adults were victims of sexual abuse before the age of 16. 25% of women experienced abuse before the age of 16 and 16% of men. Although it may be many years before you disclose the abuse you experienced as a child, you may still be able to claim compensation.

How Much Compensation is Paid Out for Child Abuse?

The amounts of compensation awarded in child abuse claims made through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, CICA claims, varies depending on whether the child abuse was sexual abuse or physical abuse, but we can offer some examples of what you may be awarded to give you an idea of what to expect. The CICA uses the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2012 as a guide to how much compensation someone can be awarded.

In child sexual abuse claims, CICA compensation ranges from £1,000 - £44,000.

In child physical abuse claims, CICA compensation ranges from £1,000 - £13,500. However, more can be awarded if you are diagnosed with a disabling mental injury by a psychologist or psychiatrist.

In civil (personal injury) claims compensation settlements can range from around £5,000 - £200,000 and sometimes more. For detailed information see How Much Compensation is Awarded for Child Abuse?

Who Can I Claim Against?

Abuse in childhood can take many forms, so determining who to claim compensation from may not be immediately clear.

If the child abuser is still alive, their crime should be reported to the police, and if this results in a conviction, you may be in a strong position to claim damages. If the abuser has died, you may be able to claim against their Estate, with any compensation being paid out of their assets. However, this needs to be done before the Executor of the Will has distributed the Estate to the named beneficiaries.

a black and white image of a young boy on a balcony overlooking a city

Claim against a Local Authority or Employer

If the person who abused you was able to do so because of their job, you may be able to claim against the organisation they were working for. For example, if you were abused in foster care, the Local Authority could be held liable, or if the abuser was a sports instructor, you could claim against the sports club that employed them.

An employer can only be held liable for any child abuse that occurred if the nature of the abuse was closely linked with the nature of the abuser’s job. Hence, in the above examples, people in these jobs would have plenty of opportunities to build close relationships with children, establish themselves as a trusted authority figure, and be in close proximity with young children, often unsupervised, as part of their day-to-day work.

Can I Claim on Behalf of my Child?

If you are the parent or guardian of a child who has suffered abuse, you will be able to make a claim on their behalf. You could also make a claim on behalf of someone who does not have the mental capacity to do so themselves.

Regardless of who the abuser is , you can claim for any abuse that your child has suffered, whether they were a relative, friend, or someone who in a position of authority  responsible for your child’s safety.

At Simpson Millar, we understand that dealing with a child abuse case can be a really upsetting situation and so we will do our best to make the process as simple as possible for you. You can speak to one of our solicitors experienced in this type of case  who will always handle your questions and concerns in the most sensitive manner.  Please do not hesitate to speak to our team today  to learn more about compensation for child abuse and how we can help you.

Can I Claim through the CICA?

You may qualify for compensation and be able to make a claim under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. This is a UK government scheme to compensate those who have sustained a “criminal injury” caused by a “crime of violence”.

This can include a physical or sexual assault on a child and could be an option if the abuser doesn’t have the means of paying compensation or they aren’t insured for causing you the injury.

However, the rules regarding CICA eligibility are quite complex. For instance, any attack must have been reported to the police, although you can still receive compensation even if your complaint didn’t result in a conviction. The person reporting the attack must have also cooperated with the police during the investigation.

There are also time limits for applying to the CICA. If you were under 18 when the incident of child abuse occurred, and it was reported to the police before your 18th birthday, you have until your 20th Birthday to make your claim. If it was reported to the police after your 18th Birthday then the application should be made within 2 years of the first report to the police.

The time limit can be extended in certain circumstances which we can help with.

If you are compensated by the CICA and succeed in a civil claim, you must repay the compensation to the CICA.

What Can I Be Compensated For?

Any physical or sexual abuse compensation settlement will reflect the circumstances of your case, so will be based on factors such as:

  • What type of abuse you suffered
  • How long the abuse took place

The severity of the abuse

  • The psychological impact of the abuse
  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of earnings

It’s therefore worth speaking to a specialist Abuse Solicitor before taking any action. It may be the case that the Solicitor believes this is the best way for you to secure damages, rather than claiming compensation against an individual or organisation.

Time Limit for Child Abuse Claims in UK

Typically, in a civil (personal injury) case, where a person was a child when the abuse occurred, they have 3 years from their 18th Birthday to make a claim and issue Court proceedings.

Claims can be brought after this time and we would have to persuade the Courts that there are good reasons for the delay and that there can still be a fair trial.

However, the Court do understand that the nature of child abuse means that a person may not feel able to reveal what’s happened to them for many years, maybe even decades.

Courts in England and Wales may use their discretion to allow people to claim well beyond the 3-year date time limit, so it’s important to get legal advice from a specialist Abuse Solicitor as soon as you feel able to do so.

How Simpson Millar Can Help

We understand how upsetting these cases can be. Our solicitors will always deal your case with utmost care. We have extensive experience handling compensation claims related to historical sexual abuse, child abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence.

We can assist you in pursuing a civil claim or completing your application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

To take the next step, reach out to us to schedule a free informal consultation

During this consultation, we will discuss the details of your situation, address any questions you may have, and advise whether, in our view, you have a valid claim. If we agree to represent you, we will promptly begin working on your claim to obtain compensation for the abuse you have experienced.

References: (n.d.). Sexual Assault compensation claims. [online] Available at:

Thousands of child sex abuse cases missed, report says. (2015). BBC News. [online] 24 Nov. Available at:

Cica. (2020). Can I claim compensation for historical sexual abuse? [online] Available at:

GOV.UK. (n.d.). Claim compensation if you were the victim of a violent crime. [online] Available at:

Citizens Advice. (n.d.). Getting help and compensation if you were abused as a child. [online] Available at:

Nathalie Swanwick

Abuse Claims Solicitor

Areas of Expertise:
Abuse Claims

Nathalie began her legal career in 2009 after completing her law degree at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2008. She has specialised in abuse claims since 2010, and went on to qualify as a Solicitor in 2013.

Following her qualification Nathalie specialised in a range of personal injury claims including abuse claims and criminal injury claims. She has acted for clients who have suffered life-changing injuries such as brain injuries.

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