Reporting Childhood Abuse in Adulthood
The emotional effects of abuse are wide-ranging and can include feelings of shame, embarrassment, self-blame and guilt. Victims of abuse can also suffer from nightmares, flashbacks, depression and have an inherent distrust of others.
That means it can often take a long time before a person is ready to talk about the abuse they’ve suffered.
There are time limits for bringing a child abuse claim for physical or psychological harm, with the Limitation Act 1980 setting a 3-year time limit to bring a claim. In broad terms, the time starts to run from the date the abuse ended. But if the abuse happened in childhood, the time starts to run from your 18th birthday, so a claim should ideally be brought before your 21st birthday.
However, in special cases, a Judge may have the choice to ignore the time limits. If it can be shown there are good reasons for the delay, and that there can still be a fair Trial, a Judge may be persuaded to allow your case to continue. It can be very difficult to prove the above, so specialist legal advice should be sought from a Child Abuse Solicitor before making a claim.
Contact our Child Abuse Solicitors for free legal advice and ask about Legal Aid or if we can deal with your case on a No Win, No Fee basis.
Claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme is a UK government-funded scheme which can compensate blameless victims of violent crime. Under the scheme, you can only make a claim if the abuse occurred, or ended, after 1st August 1964.
There are strict time limits in which to bring a claim. A claim must be made within 2 years of the end of the abuse, or within 2 years of first reporting the crime to the police. In relation to child abuse claims, the 2-year time limit begins on your 18th birthday, so a claim should ideally be brought before your 20th birthday.
Again, the effects of the abuse itself will usually mean a claim will be brought many years out of time. It may be possible to persuade the CICA to consider your claim if you can show mental or physical health prevented you from making a claim sooner.
If a claim is made outside of the 2-year time limit, you should seek specialist advice from a Child Abuse Solicitor with Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme experience.
You can also make a claim yourself by going to the government’s CICA webpage.
For free legal advice call our Abuse Claims Solicitors
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