How Victims Of Sexual Abuse During Coronavirus (COVID-19) Lockdown Could Claim Compensation

Sexual abuse during lockdown

Sexual abuse during lockdown

Have you been the victim of sexual abuse during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown? The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has restricted our movements outside of our homes, and if you’ve been in lockdown with someone that has sexually abused you, you might be suffering not only from the physical injuries caused by the abuse but also for the emotional and mental impact the abuse has caused you.

This guide provides a wealth of information to help those who have fallen victim to sexual abuse during lockdown. We offer guidance on where you can get victim support, how to report such abuse, and how much compensation you could claim if you have found yourself in this terrible position. Here at Accident Claims UK, we are able to provide free, no-obligation confidential claims advice and support to victims of sexual abuse, whether it has occurred during the Coronavirus lockdown or at any other time. If you would like us to advise you on what action you could take or provide you with a personal injury solicitor to begin claiming compensation for your mental and physical injuries, please do call us at any time on 0800 073 8801.

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A Guide On How Victims Of Sexual Abuse During Lockdown Could Claim Compensation

Due to the spread of COVID-19, the Coronavirus pandemic that has swept the globe, the Government put in place restrictions as to what activities people could do. One of these was for people to stay at home unless they were taking exercise, completing essential food shopping or working (in some industries). Whether you were able to attend work during the lockdown, or you’ve been staying at home to help in the national effort to reduce the spread of Coronavirus, there could be a chance that you have been spending more time at home.

If you have suffered sexual abuse during lockdown, while you were staying at home, this guide could help you work out whether you could be entitled to claim compensation. You will find in the sections below, some information on the statistics surrounding domestic and sexual abuse in the UK, as well as what constitutes sexual abuse and how you could take action against your abuser. We also offer some resources to help victims of sexual abuse during lockdown get the support they may need to help deal with the abuse that they have suffered.

What Is Considered Sexual Abuse Or Assault?

Sexual abuse or assault can take many forms. In simple terms, it relates to unwanted sexual activity, when the victim did not want what happened to them to happen. Sexual abuse could include:

  • Sexual name-calling
  • Forcing someone to wear clothing that they did not want to
  • Degrading someone
  • Forcing or coercing someone to participate in the making or viewing of pornographic material
  • Coercing or forcing someone to take part in sexual activity of any kind, whether with other people, with the abuser themselves
  • Rape

Signs Of Sexual Abuse

There are various signs that could be seen in someone who is the victim of sexual/domestic abuse. These could include:

  • Being withdrawn
  • Bruising
  • Not having control over their own life, including movements and finances
  • Having their social media or other technology monitored

This is not an exhaustive list. Sometimes signs of sexual abuse may go unnoticed, and it may be some time before a victim of sexual abuse during lockdown is able to speak out about what has happened to them. If you are in this situation, and it has taken time for you to process the abuse you’ve suffered, you could still be eligible to claim compensation for it.

Sexual Abuse Statistics During The Lockdown

According to Refuge, a charitable organisation providing support to those who have been a victim of domestic abuse calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline have increased in volume by 25% since the beginning of the Coronavirus lockdown. In addition to this, there was a 150% increase in the number of visits to the National Domestic Abuse website in the initial stages of the lockdown.

Refuge reports that the isolation of people in a household limits the window in which some victims of abuse could seek help, and since isolation could often be used as a tool for an abuser to use against a victim, the lockdown may have exacerbated the abuse that some victims could suffer. However, Refuge has stated that lockdown does not cause domestic abuse.

In addition to this, Counting Dead Women, a project that records the killing of female victims by male perpetrators in the UK has revealed there has been at least 16 killings from 23rd March to 12th April 2020, much more than the previously recorded amounts of 5 killings on average in this period, recorded over the last 10 years.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/apr/15/domestic-abuse-killings-more-than-double-amid-covid-19-lockdown

What Physical And Psychological Harm Is Caused By Sexual Abuse?

It is not just the physical harm that a victim of sexual abuse during lockdown could suffer. As well as potential physical injuries such as pregnancy and genital injuries, a sexual abuse victim could also suffer from:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Disassociation disorders
  • Sleep disorders
  • Panic attacks
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance abuse

Claims For Sexual Abuse Which Happened At Work

Whether you are working in your usual role or any other during the Coronavirus lockdown, you should never be abused by those you work with. Whether you have been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic, you have been coerced into sexual activities by another member of staff, or you have been sexually assaulted by a client, employee or anyone else while at work, you could claim compensation.

Claims For Sexual Abuse Against Children

Sexual abuse against children could be damaging to them both at the time of being abused and for many years -if not a lifetime – afterwards. If you are made aware that a child has become a victim of sexual abuse during lockdown, or at any other time, the NSPCC has produced some guidance as to how you could help them.

Their advice to those who have been told by a child that sexual abuse has occurred includes:

  • Listening carefully to the child’s account of the abuse
  • Letting them know they have done the right thing in speaking about the abuse
  • Reassuring them that the abuse is not their fault
  • Letting them know you are taking them seriously
  • Not confronting the abuser yourself
  • Explaining to the child what action you will take
  • Reporting the abuse as soon as possible

If you are responsible for a child who has been abused during lockdown, you may be able to claim compensation on their behalf. Or, once they turn 18 they could claim for the harm they’ve suffered due to the abuse. We could help with this.

Claims For Domestic Sexual Abuse

There are some staggering statistics relating to abuse. According to the Office of National Statistics, in the year ending March 2019, over 2.4 million people experienced domestic abuse. It was reported by the ONS that types of abuse experienced since the age of 16 years includes 4.4% of adults suffering domestic sexual assault of some nature.

If you have been the victim of sexual abuse during lockdown by someone in your home, you may be entitled to launch a claim for compensation. Whether you were sexually harassed, raped, coerced into a sexual act, or suffered another form of sexual abuse, you could claim compensation for the physical, emotional and financial harm you’ve suffered due to such abuse.

Claims If A Family Member Sexually Abused You

Have you been sexually abused by a family member while in Coronavirus lockdown? If so, you might be wondering whether you could claim compensation. Sadly, it is not unusual in sexual abuse cases for a victim of sexual abuse to know their attacker, or even live under the same roof as them. Whether you have been in lockdown with an ex-partner while you shared childcare, or you’ve been living with other family members that have sexually abused you, you could be eligible for compensation as a victim of sexual abuse during lockdown.

Claims If Your Partner Or Spouse Sexually Abused You

If you have been sexually abused by your spouse or partner during the Coronavirus lockdown, you may be wondering whether you would be able to claim for it. Sexual abuse at the hands of a partner can be devastating. If you are in a partnership or marriage with someone, your body is still your own and you have the right not to be harassed or coerced into sexual activity or be sexually abused. If your partner has encouraged you to take drugs/drink alcohol to reduce your ability to say no to sex, has manipulated you into performing sexual acts or has performed sexual acts to you against your will, these could all be considered acts of abuse.

Whether you have been harassed, raped or assaulted by a partner or spouse, we could help you claim the compensation you deserve. Please do not hesitate to get in touch to talk to us in complete confidence.

Claims Made Through The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

If you are considering claiming compensation as a victim of sexual abuse, your claim may be handled through the CICA, which is the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. The CICA is an authority that provides the opportunity for victims of violent criminal activity to claim compensation for their injuries. In order to pursue a CICA claim for sexual abuse during lockdown, you would have to fulfil certain criteria, which includes:

  • Reporting the abuse to the police
  • Having a medical examination
  • Applying as soon as it could be considered practical for you to do so. The usual personal injury claims time limit of three years would not apply to a CICA claim. The usual CICA claims time limit is 2 years from the incident date, although there could be exceptions for sexual abuse victims who may not have had the emotional capacity to speak about their abuse within this period.

If you would like our help with claiming compensation through the CICA, we would be happy to help you.

Assessing Mental And Physical Injuries

As part of your claim as a victim of sexual abuse during lockdown, your health would have to be assessed by an independent medical professional. The results of this assessment would be detailed in a report that would be sent to your solicitor and this could provide proof of your injuries as well as a prognosis for recovery.

In addition to undergoing a physical assessment, your mental/emotional health would also need to be assessed to provide details of the mental and emotional effects that the abuse has had on you. Therefore, you could be asked to see a mental health professional too, in order that this evidence could be collected as part of your claim. Sometimes, the emotional and mental health effects of abuse can be worse than the physical injuries you may have suffered, so this assessment would be important to your case.

Victims Of Sexual Abuse Compensation Calculator

If you are thinking of claiming compensation for sexual abuse during lockdown and are wondering how much compensation you could receive for your injuries, you may have tried to use a personal injury claims calculator online to work out how much you could potentially receive. For CICA claims the figures are different than personal injury claims. We should mention that these calculators could only provide rough estimates of your compensation payout.

Your case would be assessed according to its own set of unique facts. In addition to this, you would be required to undergo a medical examination by an independent medic, as mentioned above to verify your medical condition and write a report detailing your injuries and prognosis. This could be used to value your claim.

We have produced the table below for you to look at. The figures below come from the The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2012, which gives a tariff for specific injuries. We have used injuries that we believe could relate to an abuse claim, but if your injury isn’t shown here, don’t worry. We could provide you with more information on guideline payout amounts over the phone.

We should also advise that if you have suffered more than one injury due to sexual abuse, the compensation from the CICA you would receive would reduce with each separate injury. The most serious of your injuries will result in 100% of the tariff being awarded to you, with further injuries being awarded at 30% and 15% respectively.

Your injuryCompensationNotes
Non penetrative acts - minor£1,000 Non penetrative physical sexual acts which take place over clothing
Non penetrative acts - serious£2,000 Non penetrative physical sexual acts which take place under clothing
Penetrative acts - severe£3,300 Non-penile oral genital or penetrative acts
Pattern of frequent repetitive abuse (severe)£6,600 By one or more attackers up to three years
Pattern of frequent repetitive abuse (severe)£8,200 By one or more attackers over three years
Pattern of frequent repetitive abuse (severe)£22,000 Resulting in moderate mental illness (permanently disabling)
Pattern of frequent repetitive abuse (severe)£27,000 Resulting in severe mental illness (permanently disabling)

Additional Forms Of Damages Which You Could Claim

As well as the compensation for any physical and emotional injuries caused by the sexual abuse during lockdown you’ve experienced and the loss of amenity that your injuries have caused, you could also claim for financial harm for actual and expected future costs of your injuries.

These are what are known as special damages. For CICA claims they could include:

Income losses – If your injuries meant you weren’t able to work for over 28 full weeks, CICA could compensate you for income losses due to this. In order to prove your eligibility, you would have to evidence that you were in employment at the time of the incident, and you would also have to provide evidence of your last 3 years work history. If you were not working within this time you would have to give a good reason why this was the case.

Damage to property – If you had any damage to physical aids, such as spectacles, a wheelchair or walker, due to the incident, you could claim for this.

Adaptations to the home – If your injuries were so bad your home needed adapting to allow you to live independently, the costs for adaptations could be claimed for.

Care costs – You may have needed someone to care for you if you’ve suffered injuries that have meant you were unable to perform tasks such as washing or dressing for example. Some care costs could also be claimed through CICA.

Funeral costs – If a criminal act resulted in a fatality, then CICA could, in some cases, cover funeral costs.

We should mention that there is a limited budget for CICA claims and therefore only costs that are considered a direct result of criminal injuries would be considered, and only then if they are deemed reasonable and necessary. In some cases, the CICA will try to see if support could be offered from the benefits system or the NHS before agreeing to cover certain costs. If the abuser has means to pay compensation themselves, then your claim could be made against your abuser and not through the CICA. In these cases, the time limit for claiming could be different than the CICA claims time limit, which would usually be within 2 years of the incident date (with some possible exceptions for those who have suffered abuse that they could not speak up about within this limit).

No Win No Fee Claims For Victims Of Sexual Abuse In Lockdown

Starting a claim as a victim of sexual abuse doesn’t have to mean paying your solicitor upfront. If you choose to work with a No Win No Fee solicitor, they would not ask for any money upfront, or during the claims process. Instead, you would be required to sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), which would effectively promise your lawyer a small success fee if they were to negotiate a compensation settlement for your Coronavirus lockdown sexual abuse claim. This fee would be legally capped and is designed to cover the costs of the lawyer pursuing your claim. If your lawyer was unable to negotiate a settlement for you, even though you had a valid claim, then the success fee would not be payable and you would not be expected to cover the solicitor’s costs.

Here at Accident Claims UK, all of our solicitors have the ability to take claims on under a No Win No Fee basis. If you would like us to provide you with one of our specialist lawyers to help you with your claim, then please do not hesitate to get in touch.

How Accident Claims UK Could Help You

We know there are plenty of companies out there offering guidance and support if you are a victim of sexual abuse during lockdown, but we really do believe we could help you, and that you could benefit by getting in touch with our expert advisors. Not only could we offer a free, no-obligation assessment of your case, but we could also offer guidance and support whether you are considering making a claim for compensation or aren’t sure whether you could do so.

If we believe you could be eligible to claim compensation, we will be sure to support you through the process, ensuring you understand what is happening and why. We will keep you fully informed of any information and updates to your claim and will explain any legal terms without using jargon so that you can fully understand what is happening.

Our solicitors are capable of fighting for the maximum compensation possible for your claim and will use all of their experience to build as strong a case as possible for your claim. We have helped many victims of sexual abuse claim compensation, and we know it could be stressful having to go through what has happened to you. Our solicitors will aim to take as much stress as possible out of the claims process so that you can concentrate on your recovery.

Contact Us To Begin A Claim

Getting in touch for free, no-obligation advice, an assessment of your eligibility to claim or to begin a claim could not be easier. You can reach us via telephone, on 0800 073 8801, via email at office@accidentclaims.co.uk, through the contact form or via the Live Chat feature. Our advisors are ready to help you, whatever you need to know about making a claim as a victim of sexual abuse during lockdown, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch so we could help you fight for the compensation you deserve.

Resources

How To Report A Sexual Assault – Here, you can find out how to go about reporting a sexual assault.

NHS Information On Rape And Domestic Abuse – This page, from the NHS website, offers support for victims of domestic violence.

Sexual Abuse Claims – Here, you can read more about making a claim for sexual abuse.

Rape Compensation – If you have been raped, this guidance could offer you some useful insight into getting compensation.

Assault At Work – Here, you can find information on claiming compensation if you’ve been assaulted at work.

Article by JJ

Edited by MM.