How to Claim Compensation for Child Abuse
If you are a parent, a family member or the guardian of a child that you think has suffered child abuse, you can make a compensation claim on their behalf. No amount of compensation can make up for what’s happened to them but it can help to pay for any therapy or ongoing help they’ve had or will need in the future.
As a parent or guardian you have to decide if you want to make the claim for your child yourself, or if you want to wait until your child is old enough to make that decision for themselves. Once your child turns 18, they can decide if they want to make a compensation claim for themselves. They have three years from their eighteenth birthday to make this decision.
If you do decide to make a claim on behalf of your child, you will be known as a ‘Litigation Friend’. This is as term used by the Court for the person representing the child. Anyone who bears any responsibility for the child’s injuries, cannot be the Litigation Friend.
Legal Aid is available for abuse claims and you may also consider making a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) on behalf of your child. You can’t get Legal Aid for CICA claims but we’ll tell you about alternative funding options and advise you on which type of claim is best for the child, depending on the circumstances.
For free legal advice call our Child Abuse Solicitors and we will help you. Ask about Legal Aid or if we can deal with your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis.
What Can You Claim For?
There are many different aspects of a compensation claim for child abuse. This largely depends on the circumstances of the case. The claim could include compensation for sexual abuse, neglect, physical abuse and psychological harm.
When preparing the claim, we’ll also consider:
- The pain and suffering caused to your child by the injuries
- The effect of the injuries on your child’s day to day life
- Any financial loses. This could include talking therapies such as counselling, any other medical appointments and any travelling expenses.
If you or someone else has had to look after the child because of their injuries, you could claim compensation for the care you’ve had to give.
The Child Abuse Claims Process
You may well be worried and concerned about the whole process of making a child abuse claim on behalf of your child. This may be because you’re not sure what to expect. So we’ve broken down the claims process for you so you can be clear about what will happen and so you can make an informed decision about whether you want to make a claim for your child or not.
Medical Evidence - Your child’s abuse claim will need medical evidence to support it. We can arrange for a medical expert to provide a report outlining your child’s injuries. This will be handled by a doctor who has experience in physical and sexual abuse and they’ll support your child carefully through this evidence gathering process.
Going to Court - The vast majority of claims for abuse for both children and adults, are settled by negotiation rather than having to go through a Trial at Court. But claims for children need special care. They have special procedures put in place by the Court to make sure that the compensation that child receives is the best outcome possible.
As a result, any child abuse claim settlement must be by the Court. This is called an Approval Hearing.
Approval Hearing - Firstly, we’ll ask an independent Barrister to set out what they think the child’s abuse claim is worth and to say if the agreed compensation settlement figure is fair or not.
If the Barrister agrees that the proposed compensation settlement is fair, we’ll apply to the Court for them to agree it. The Approval Hearing is usually done informally in a Judge’s office at your local County Court. You’ll need to attend the Approval Hearing because you are the Litigation Friend and in some cases, your child may also need to attend.
The Judge will check that you understand what is happening and that you agree with the medical evidence. Depending on the age and wellbeing of the child, the Judge will sometimes want to speak to the child. The Judge will also see the written advice of the independent Barrister.
If the Judge is happy that the compensation settlement figure is a fair, they’ll approve it.
The Compensation Settlement Amount – Usually, any compensation settlement amount will be paid into Court funds, and it’ll be invested and held for the child until they reach the age of 18.
You can apply to the Court for a payment of all or part of the compensation settlement amount, for the benefit of your child. You can make this request at the Approval Hearing or later by letter.
The Court will want to be sure that the money is being used for the exclusive benefit of the child and not for anything that would ordinarily be considered routine parental or carer responsibility, such as buying clothing.
For more than 20 years, we’ve been helping abuse victims claim their legal rights. When you’re ready to talk, we’re ready to listen.
For free legal advice call our Abuse Claims Solicitors
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Billingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Catterick, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.