By Fern Easton. Last Updated 10th March 2021. Welcome to our guide, looking at the question, “can I claim for sexual abuse if not reported to the police?”. If you were the victim of sexual abuse or an assault and you failed to report the crime to the police, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority would not accept your application for compensation through the Scheme. Incidents of sexual abuse or assaults must be reported to the police as soon as possible following an incident.
Should there be a delay in filing a report, you must be able to show sufficient evidence together with a valid reason why a report was not lodged with the police straight away. This is essential for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority to consider your application through the Scheme.
Sexual abuse not reported to the police could mean you would not be entitled to claim compensation for the hurt, pain and suffering you were caused. However, you should still contact one of our advisers on 0800 073 8801. We would determine whether exceptional circumstances prevented you from reporting the sexual abuse to the police, and if this can be established, we would contact the CICA on your behalf.
For more information on claiming compensation for sexual abuse, what evidence is required, the time limits associated with personal injury claims, and how a solicitor may be able to assist you, please read on.
- A Guide To Claims For Sexual Abuse Not Reported To The Police
- What Is Sexual Abuse?
- How To Report Sexual Abuse Or Assault In The UK
- What Should You Do Once The Abuse Has Been Reported?
- What If The Time Limit To Claim For Sexual Abuse Has Passed?
- Could I Claim If No On Has Been Caught Or Convicted?
- How Do Sexual Abuse Claims Through The CICA Work?
- Sexual Abuse Compensation Claims Calculator
- Special Expenses Or Damages Payable To Victims
- No Win No Fee Claims For Sexual Abuse Not Reported To The Police
- Why Choose Our Criminal Injury Claims Team?
- Start Your Claim
- Essential References
Our guide on how to claim for unreported sexual abuse provides information on what you must do to claim compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. We cover the following throughout the guide:
- The definition of sexual abuse according to UK law
- The importance of reporting sexual abuse or an assault to the police
- What needs to be done when you have reported the abuse to the authorities
- How the time limit associated with a sexual abuse claim may impact an application to the CICA and what you must do if you have run out of time
- What would happen if your assailant has not been caught or convicted of the crime
- We talk about your options and whether you could seek compensation from your perpetrator through the courts or whether you should claim compensation for sexual abuse through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme
- We explain how the CICA processes cases of sexual assault, sexual abuse, and rape
- We discuss how you could be entitled to claim compensation on behalf of a minor should they have been the victim of sexual abuse when they were under eighteen years of age. We explain what this would involve and the role of a ‘litigation friend’ in this type of claim
- We walk you through how compensation for sexual abuse is calculated
- We explain how you may be able to claim ‘special expenses’ or damages in a sexual abuse CICA claim
- We discuss how you may be able to make a No Win No Fee claim for sexual abuse even though the incident went unreported and how exceptional circumstances may have prevented you from contacting the police straight away
- Lastly, we offer advice on how we can assist you when making an unreported sexual abuse claim through the CICA Scheme
If you still find yourself asking, “can I claim for sexual abuse if not reported to the police?” by the end of this guide, please get in touch with our team, who will answer any remaining questions you have.
In order to answer the question, “can I claim for sexual abuse if not reported to the police?” we first need to look at what sexual abuse is and what can be reported to the police. All too often children and younger people do not understand what is happening to them when they are sexually abused. They can be tricked or forced into activities of a sexual nature without really understanding how wrong it is. Not only this, children are more likely to be afraid when it comes to telling anyone about things they are forced to do.
No matter where sexual abuse is being committed, it is crucial that children are made aware that what is happening to them is never their fault.
There are two sorts of sexual abuse, which are as follows:
- Contact sexual abuse
- Non-contact sexual abuse
Contact Sexual Abuse
Contact sexual abuse involves the following:
- The abuser touches any part of the child’s body in a sexual manner, whether the minor is wearing clothes or not wearing clothes
- When an abuser uses part of the body or an object to penetrate or rape a minor/child
- The abuser forces a child or minor to be part of a sexual activity
- An abuser forces a child to take off their clothes, or they force them to touch another person
An abuser does not have to penetrate a minor; they may touch, kiss or have oral sex with a child for their actions to be deemed sexual abuse under UK law.
Non-contact Sexual Abuse
Non-contact sexual abuse involves the following:
- A minor/child/young person is sexually abused without their abuser actually touching them, whether this is in person or online
- An abuser exposes or flashes themselves to a child
- The abuser shows pornography to a minor
- An abuser exposes a minor to acts of a sexual nature
- The abuser makes a child masturbate
- An abuser forces a child to look at, make or share images or videos of child abuse
- The abuser views, makes or distributes images or videos of child abuse
- An abuser forces a minor to be part of sexual conversations or activities when online or on a smartphone
Consent in Instances of Sexual Abuse
Under the Sexual Offences Act 1956, there is no ‘statutory’ definition of consent as such. Jurors are instructed to take the word ‘consent’ at its normal meaning. They are also instructed that there exists a difference between ‘submission’ and ‘consent’.
A lack of ‘consent’ can be established in the following ways:
- A victim of sexual abuse is subjected to threats or force
- There is evidence that a victim of sexual abuse was unaware of what was happening to them due to drink, drugs, mental disability, sleep, or age, and therefore incapable of being in a position to give their ‘consent’
- There is proof that a victim of sexual abuse was tricked/deceived about the identity of the abuser who performed sex with them
A girl or a boy who is under the age of 16 cannot by law give their ‘consent’ under UK law.
A person cannot give ‘consent’ to sexual activity when the following applies:
- The victim/person did not understand what was happening to them. As such, they would be unable to give their ‘informed consent’. An example being if a child or victim suffers from a severe mental disability
- The victim was a minor and therefore under the legal age to give their consent
The Sexual Offences Act 2003 sets out the offences that require the prosecution to prove a lack of ‘consent’, including the following situations:
- An assault by penetration
- Sexual assault
- When a person forces a victim to engage in some kind of sexual activity
However, there are other sexual offences where proving an absence of ‘consent’ is not a requirement, which includes the following:
- The rape of a minor who is under 13 years of age
- An assault by penetration on a child under the age of 13
- A sexual assault on a child under the age of 13
- When a person engages in any sort of sexual activity with a minor under the age of 13
- Sexual offences that involve children under the age of 16
- Where children under the age of 18 have sexual relations with people who hold a position of trust
- Where children under the age of 18 are involved with members of a family who are over the age of 18
- Sexual offences that involve people who suffer from a mental disorder
- Where people suffering from a mental disorder are deceived or threatened
- Where people suffering from a mental disorder have sexual relations with their care workers
The Sexual Offences Act 1956 (section 74) defines ‘consent’ in the following way:
- The person agrees by choice and has the capacity and freedom to make a choice.
If you’re still looking for the answer to the question “can I claim for sexual abuse if not reported to the police?” then read on or get in touch with our team today.
Sexual Abuse Statistics
According to a report carried out by the CSEW and published on the Office of National Statistics website, the number of sexual offences committed and reported in England and Wales for the year ending March 2017 is as follows:
- 20% of women and 4% of men were subjected to some form of sexual assault from the age of 16. This is equivalent to approximately 631,000 male victims and 3.4 million female victims
- It is estimated that 0.8% of men (138,000) and 3.1% of women (510,000) between the ages of 16 and 59 have been subjected to a sexual assault during the 12 month period
- Around 5 in 6 victims of sexual assault, which represents 83%, did not file reports of the incidents to the police
It is worth noting that the number of sexual offences reported to the police has increased, which is thought to be because of improvements in ‘reporting practices’ together with the fact that more victims of sexual abuse are willing to come forward, which includes victims of non-recent abuse. The graph below shows the increase in sexual offences reported to the police between March 2003 and March 2017.
When it comes to child sexual abuse statistics in the UK, a report published on the Office National Statistics website carried out by the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) shows the following:
- An estimated 7.5% of adults between the ages of 18 to 74 were subjected to sexual abuse before they turned 16 years of age, which represents 16 years and includes child and adult perpetrators
- The abuse was more likely to have been committed by an acquaintance or a friend, with the figure standing at 37% and around one third (30%) of victims were sexually abused by someone they did not know
The police in England and Wales recorded 73,260 offences of a sexual nature where no data identifying that the victim was a minor/child during the year ending March 2019.
For more information on sexual abuse and assault statistics in the UK, please refer to the link provided at the end of the guide. If you’d like to chat with one of our team about the question “can I claim for sexual abuse if not reported to the police?” then please don’t hesitate to call us or contact us through our online form.
Victims of sexual abuse or any sort of abuse or neglect can seek help and support from the NSPCC. If you are worried that a child may be the victim of abuse, you should contact the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children without delay and not wait until you are sure they are being abused. Trained advisers have the necessary experience and can tell you what needs to be done to ensure a child is protected from any danger.
If you think a victim of sexual abuse is in imminent danger, you should contact the police by calling 999 immediately.
Having looked at the question “can I claim for sexual abuse if not reported to the police?” we will now look at the steps you should take when the abuse is reported. Once a report of sexual abuse has been made to the police, you must fully co-operate with the authorities during their investigations. You may have to give a ‘formal statement’, and in certain instances, you may have to attend court. Although it may be hard to talk about what happened to you or someone you know, the more information regarding a sexual assault you can provide, the stronger the case would be against an abuser.
It is important to note that should you not agree to give a statement to the police or you decide to withdraw your statement, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority would be unlikely to accept your application. This is because you must be seen as being the ‘blameless victim’ of a crime and to have fully cooperated with the authorities/police for an application to be accepted by the authority.
In short, you must meet the necessary criteria for the CICA to accept your claim for compensation for sexual abuse.
If you’re wondering, “can I claim for sexual abuse if not reported to the police within the CICA claim time limit?” then this section will help. There could be various reasons why you did not claim compensation for sexual abuse within the statutory time limit, whether through a civil court or through the CICA Scheme. It could be that you are claiming compensation for sexual abuse that you were subjected to years earlier. This is referred to as historical sexual abuse. Should this be the case, providing you file a report with the police within the statutory time limit associated with CICA claims, and providing your claim is valid, you may still be able to claim sexual abuse compensation through the Scheme.
There must be a valid reason why a claim was not filed within the time limit, and you must show that exceptional circumstances prevented you from doing so, in which case the CICA has discretionary powers to extend the deadline. If there is found to be no good reason for the delay, a claim through the CICA would not be accepted because the time limit has expired.
Other exceptional reasons why the CICA may accept an application for sexual abuse compensation through the Scheme would include the following:
- You suffered psychological damage due to the sexual abuse you were subjected to, and as such, this affected your capacity to make a claim for compensation
If you are unsure as to whether you could claim sexual abuse compensation and are worried that you may have run out of time to do so, please call one of our advisers who would be happy to assist you.
Providing you have a valid sexual abuse claim, and your case meets all the necessary criteria to claim compensation through the CICA, even if your abuser/assailant has not been caught or convicted, you could still submit an application to the authority. As long as a report has been lodged with the police and you have a crime number, the CICA would consider your application.
Going over what happened to you could prove challenging and distressing, but the more details you can give the police, the stronger your claim for sexual abuse compensation would be.
Claiming sexual abuse compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) differs from that made through a Civil Court. There is also a different tariff of compensation that would apply to a claim made through the Scheme.
For your application to be accepted by the CICA, you must meet all the required criteria, and you must be the blameless victim of a crime. As previously touched upon, the time limit differs in that it is shorter, being 2 years, whereas a personal injury claim for sexual abuse made through a court has a 3-year statutory time limit.
Claims For Historical Sexual Abuse Through The CICA
Providing your claim meets all the eligibility criteria that the CICA set out for claims made through the Scheme, the authority would consider cases that involve historical sexual abuse. The criteria that must be met are detailed below:
- You must have reported the sexual abuse to the police
- Should the report have been made when you were still a child, you must be able to show ‘good reason’ for not having submitted an application for sexual abuse within the CICA 2-year time limit. To just say you were not aware of the Scheme would not be an acceptable reason
However, historical sexual abuse claims where a report to the police was only done many years later, and the application for compensation falls within the 2-year CICA rule, would meet the necessary eligibility rule.
Because the rules that apply to claims for sexual abuse compensation filed through the Scheme tend to be complex, it is always wiser to seek legal advice before submitting an application. This is where one of our advisers could be of assistance.
Claims Where You Do Not Have A Crime Number
We often get asked, “can I claim for sexual abuse if not reported to the police, or if it was reported, but I have lost my crime number?”. If you do not have a Police Crime Number (PCN), the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority would not consider your application for sexual abuse compensation through their Scheme. However, should this be because the sexual abuse happened long ago, and you lost the PCN, you can request that the police track the number down for you by calling 101. You would be put through to the local police station. If you have moved out of the area, you can contact the main police centre for assistance in tracking down the PCN.
Should you still not be able to find it, we may be of assistance in tracing the number on your behalf. Speak to one of our advisers to find out how we can help.
What Are The CICA Tariffs?
As well as “can I claim for sexual abuse if not reported to the police” a common question we’re often asked is “how much compensation could I be owed through CICA?”. As previously touched upon, the CICA tariffs differ from those provided by the Judicial College Guidelines. The way that compensation is calculated is based on a tariff system. Therefore, you could be entitled to claim compensation through the Scheme providing the injuries you suffered are listed in the CICA tariff of injuries.
Should an existing injury have been worse when you were sexually abused, and this can be linked directly to the abuse you suffered, you could be entitled to make an application for compensation through the Scheme. However, the amount awarded would only take into account how much worse an existing injury was made because you were sexually abused and would not take into account the existing injury itself.
It is worth noting that should an injury be valued at less than £1,000, the CICA would not consider making a payment.
Should you have suffered mental damage/injury because you were sexually abused, the amount of compensation the CICA pays would be based on either the ‘tariff value’ for the sort of injury sustained or the ‘tariff value’ of the mental injury you were caused. The authority would pay the higher of the two amounts; you would not receive compensation for both. The reason being that the CICA tariff where sexual assault is an issue factors in mental trauma.
If you were the victim of sexual abuse, you might be able to claim compensation through the Civil Courts by filing a personal injury claim against your abuser. Another legal route is to submit an application for sexual abuse through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
When you make a sexual abuse claim for compensation through the court, the level of compensation you may be awarded would be based on the extent of your injuries, how your life was impacted and the expenses you incurred as a result of the sexual abuse.
When you make an application for sexual abuse compensation through the CICA Scheme, the compensation awarded would be based on the CICA tariff of injuries. You may be able to claim ‘special expenses’ through the Scheme, but these must be deemed necessary expenses and costs by the authority for them to accept them.
As a guideline, please refer to the table below for CICA compensation amounts that may be awarded.
Injury Type CICA Compensation Details
Injury to the head £6,200 Minor injury to the head leading to permanent impairment in balance,headaches of concussion
Scarring to the face £11,000 Scarring to the face resulting in severe disfigurement
Eye Injuries £44,000 Severe and permanent loss of vision
Fractures to the face £11,000 Multiple fractures to the face.
Nose injuries £3,500 A nasal injury resulting in partial loss of taste, smell or both.
Skull injuries £4,600 Depressed fracture to the skull requiring surgery
Teeth injuries £3,500 Loss of 4 or more front teeth
Elbow injuries £6,200 Fracture/dislocation of one elbow causing significant disability
Arm injuries £3,500 Fractured humerus resulting in a significant disability
Shoulder injuries £3,500 Dislocated shoulder resulting in continuing and significant disability
As a guide to the amount of compensation you may be awarded for sexual abuse in a successful personal injury claim, please see the table below. The amounts provided are given as a general idea of the compensation you may receive and are based on the Judicial College Guidelines.
Neck Injuries (Severe)
In the region of £139,210
Neck Injuries (Moderate)
£23,460 to £36,120
Back Injuries (Severe) £85,470 to £151,070
Back Injuries (Moderate) £26,050 to £36,390
Fracture of Clavicle (Severe) £73,580 to £122,860
Fracture of Clavicle (Moderate) £24,950 to £36,770
Fracture of Clavicle (Lesser Injuries) £3,710 to £11,820
As previously touched upon, if you make a sexual abuse claim for compensation against your abuser through the courts, you would be awarded general damages for the injuries and damage you suffered together with special damages for all the out of pocket expenses you incurred as a direct result. The special damages awarded through the courts could include the following:
- Medical expenses – this includes prescriptions, the cost of therapy and other treatments not covered by the NHS
- Travel costs linked to your injuries
- Care costs
- Loss of income and future earnings
- All other expenditure linked to the injuries and damage sustained
Because special damages are paid out for actual expenses and costs incurred, you must provide receipts and other relevant documentation to support the amounts claimed in special damages.
Should you make an application for sexual abuse compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, the authority would only consider payment if the injury sustained is listed in their Tariff of Injuries. Should the CICA accept your claim, they would consider paying special expenses and loss of earnings. However, when it comes to special expenses, you must be able to prove the expenses were absolutely necessary. If you cannot, the authority would not consider a payment.
Many solicitors today offer No Win No Fee terms to people who suffered injuries through no fault of their own. This involves entering into a legal agreement with a solicitor known as a Conditional Fee Agreement, otherwise referred to as a No Win No Fee agreement. This is a legally binding contract that sets out the percentage you may be required to pay if your case is successful, called a ‘success fee’, as well as the terms and conditions of the agreement.
For a solicitor to accept your case, they would need to establish that you have a valid sexual abuse claim. They would also need to establish whether the claim can be won through a Civil Court or the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. Once this has been determined, you would be asked to sign the CFA, which allows the solicitor to start their investigations without having to request you pay them an upfront fee.
Another advantage of having a No Win No Fee solicitor represent you in a sexual abuse claim is you would have no ongoing fees to pay throughout the legal process. The only time you pay for the legal services you received is when you are awarded compensation, whether through a court, in an out of court settlement, or through the CICA Scheme.
Seeking compensation for sexual abuse can be stressful, but being able to talk about a traumatic experience can help you move on with your life. Our team of experienced advisers can assist you when you need support and legal advice on how best to move forward with a claim for compensation.
Once we have determined you have a strong claim and that you would be entitled to seek compensation for the harm and damage you were caused, we would work on your sexual abuse claim on a No Win No Fee basis, so you do not have to worry about finding the money to pay for a solicitor. There are many benefits to working with us when seeking compensation, some of which are listed below:
- Our team of solicitors has the necessary legal experience to handle this type of sensitive claim, whether through a civil court or the CICA Scheme
- We understand and respect the various time limits that may apply to your case and would ensure that you are awarded a fair and acceptable level of compensation
- We would keep you apprised at each stage of the claim, and should your case be complex we would make sure you receive interim payments until a final settlement is reached
- Should you need to be examined by an independent medical professional, we would arrange this on your behalf, ensuring this is carried out locally to you
To find out just how we can be of assistance in pursuing a sexual abuse claim on your behalf, please contact us today.
If you feel you are ready to make a sexual abuse claim but would like to discuss things with an adviser, please call us on 0800 073 8801 today. A member of our team will offer you free legal advice on what we think you should do next and whether you could pursue a sexual abuse claim through the courts or by submitting an application to the CICA.
Alternatively, you can email us at:
Or you could request that we call you back by filling out the form provided.
Sexual abuse claims- FAQs
What if I don’t feel comfortable reporting an assault to the police?
Being the victim of any crime can have a serious effect on your physical and mental wellbeing, and sexual offences are no exception. Sometimes, the prospect of speaking to someone about what happened can seem overwhelming, even if it happened a long time ago.
As well as calling 101, 999 or visiting your local police station to report a crime, you can also report an incident online if you’d feel more comfortable doing so. After the assault is reported, you’ll speak with a police officer who’s trained in supporting victims of sexual assault or abuse.
What are the signs and symptoms of sexual abuse?
Abusers often manipulate their victims to keep the abuse they’re inflicting upon them a secret. As such, it’s not always easy to know that someone is being sexually abused, whether the victim is an adult or child. But there are some signs of sexual abuse that can indicate something is amiss.
Children who are sexually abused will often exhibit behavioural changes. They might act out in school or have difficulty concentrating. Abused children can withdraw or, conversely, can become clingy. Child victims of sexual abuse may use explicit language or behave inappropriately.
Adults suffering from sexual abuse may change their behaviour in a way that is unexpected or unexplained. They may show signs of physical violence, like cuts or bruising. Sexual abuse in adults can also lead to a disruption of sleeping patterns.
For more information on claiming sexual abuse compensation through the CICA, please click on the link provided below:
For help after experiencing rape and sexual assault, read the NHS guide below:
For information and support for sexual abuse during the national lockdown, visit the page below:
If you would like more information regarding claiming compensation for historical sexual abuse, please click on the link below:
For information on claiming when a child has been sexually abused by another child, read our guide below:
If you’ve suffered psychological injuries following sexual abuse, our guide below could help you claim:
Thank you for reading our guide answering the question, “can I claim for sexual abuse if not reported to the police?”
Guide by HW
Edited by REB