Abuse Civil and Criminal Injuries Case Study

Portrait of Nathalie Swanwick
Author:
Nathalie Swanwick
Abuse Claims Solicitor
Date:
02/12/2021

We helped a man claim £160,133 under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme for historic child abuse in school.

Mr R was physically and sexually abused during his school years in the 1970s and 80s. In his first school, he was physically abused by the headmaster and two other staff members.

At the second school he attended, he was sexually abused by a house parent at the school. The house parent was convicted for 8 counts of abuse against different boys and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but Mr R’s abuse was not part of the allegations as he had not yet come forward about his abuse.

When Mr R did eventually report his abuse to the police, the house parent was 83 years old and unable to remember anything, so the police decided not to continue with his case.

How We Helped Mr R

Mr R got in touch with our Abuse Team over 25 years after his abuse took place. Even though the time for bringing a claim had passed, I decided to pursue a Civil Claim and a Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) claim on his behalf.

I gathered medical evidence of how the abuse had affected Mr R and instructed a Consultant Psychiatrist to see Mr R. Mr R was already receiving support from secondary care mental health services for Schizoaffective Disorder, which caused him to suffer symptoms of schizophrenia, delusions and significant symptoms of mood disorder, including elation and depression. He also experienced persistent symptoms of hearing voices and beliefs that the government were following him and conspiring against him.

The medical expert concluded that 45% of his problems were due to the sexual abuse at the second school and 5% were due to the physical abuse at the first school. The other 50% were due to his family history and genetics. This confirmed that the abuse significantly contributed towards Mr R’s long-term problems with mental health issues and inability to work for 12 years.

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Civil Claim

We put forward a civil claim against the Local Authority that owned and managed the two schools Mr R attended.
Because some time had passed since the abuse took place, this meant that evidence was unavailable. For example, the Local Authority were unable to locate any documents that proved Mr R’s attendance at the schools and were unable to identify the exact dates of employment of two of the abusers. One of the abusers had also died while the other two were untraceable.

The Local Authority offered Mr R £30,000 in compensation, which Mr R accepted.

CICA Claim

While the Civil Claim was ongoing, I made two separate applications to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) – one for each school that he attended.
Once the Civil Claim had concluded, I asked the CICA to make a reduced payment under the scheme which allowed the CICA to make an award, even if another payment had been received, but deduct the money already received in the civil claim.

The CICA took into account Mr R’s psychiatric injuries and his loss of earnings. He was awarded £130,133 by the CICA for the sexual abuse he suffered at his second school, which is the highest award you can receive for psychiatric injury under the CICA scheme.

This is a fantastic result as the abuse at the second school contributed to 45% of his problems but the decision was made on the basis that it was 100% responsible for his mental health problems. This amount also reflected past and future loss of earnings from when Mr R stopped working until his retirement age at 67.

The CICA claim against the first school is still ongoing with the view that Mr R could be awarded for severe physical abuse resulting in multiple moderate injuries.

The Outcome for Mr R

So far, Mr R has been awarded £160,133 in compensation to date. This is a fantastic result for Mr R who now has his award in a Personal Injury Trust and security for his family and children.

Mr R’s case shows the importance of considering the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme where the risks of taking a civil claim to court often means that survivors of abuse have to accept lower amounts of compensation. The CICA scheme can supplement awards, helping abuse survivors to get a higher sum of compensation that truly reflects what they’ve been through.

I’m pleased I could help Mr R get the justice he deserved and wish him all the best for the future.

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