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Can A Civil Claim be Brought Against an Individual for Sexual Abuse?

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On 9 May 2023 former President Donald Trump was ordered to pay $2 million in damages for sexually abusing E Jean Carroll in the 1990s. He was also ordered to pay $3 million for defamation, making the total figure $5 million. This was a civil claim for compensation and Donald Trump has not been convicted of a criminal offence.

This claim was brought in the United States, and whilst the law in the United States differs from the law in England and Wales, it is also possible to bring a civil claim against an abuser in England and Wales.

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What is the Difference Between Civil Claims in England and Wales vs the United States?

There are many differences in the way such claims work in England and Wales, most notably:

  • The likely amount a person would recover in England and Wales is significantly less than awards made in US courts.
  • The time limit for bringing a claim, known as “Limitation” is different, though allows claims to be brought out of time depending on the circumstances.

In order for you to bring a claim against an abuser, it is important they have sufficient financial assets. If an abuser does not have any assets, then it would not be financially viable to bring a claim against them if they do not have money to pay any compensation.

What is the Difference Between a Civil Case and a Criminal Case?

In a civil law case, a case is brought by an individual (or claimant) against another individual or organisation (defendant) for a ‘remedy’, usually for damages for injury sustained and losses incurred.

This differs from a criminal case where The Crown Prosecution Service, a government body, prosecutes cases investigated by the police. The purpose of a criminal case is for the state to punish an individual if they have committed a crime.

How Our Abuse Law Team Can Help You Bring a Claim Against Your Abuser

Our specialist Abuse Team has many years’ experience in representing victims and survivors of abuse, including claims against individuals, and can advise whether you may have a claim. You can find out more about bringing a claim against an individual or get in touch with our team for more information.

You may also be able to make a Criminal Injuries Compensation application for abuse you have suffered by an individual, even if your abuser does not have any assets. You can read more in our article about how CICA applications work.

For more advice on whether you could bring a claim, please feel free to contact our specialist team.

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