I Was Sexually Abused By A Stranger, Can I Claim Compensation? – Criminal Injuries Compensation CICA

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By Brett Williams. Last Updated August 8th 2021. While you may assume that sexual abuse is something that would usually be perpetrated by someone you may already know, sexual assault of women by strangers does happen, and when it does, it could lead not only to physical injuries but mental trauma too. It could also happen to men. This guide offers information to answer the question ‘I was sexually abused by a stranger, can I claim compensation?’ In the sections below, you will find lots of useful information on claiming compensation as an abuse survivor, whether you are claiming for abuse that has happened while you were a child, or as an adult. The information contained below could also help those who are responsible for a child that has been sexually abused. If you require further help after reading this guide or would like us to provide you with a solicitor to help you claim compensation, please do not hesitate to call 0800 073 8801. It’s free to call us, and you will not have to pay for our advice.

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A Guide To Claims If Sexually Abused By A Stranger

You may or may not have been taught about stranger danger, and the importance of being aware that not everyone you meet may have good intentions, but many of us would not expect to be the victim of sexual abuse. Whether you are reading this guide as someone who has been sexually abused by a stranger as an adult or has found this page while looking to support a child who has been abused, we have produced this guide to offer useful information about claiming abuse victims compensation.

In the sections that follow, we will look at the definition of sexual abuse, and look at the signs and symptoms of abuse that could follow such an incident. Whether the abuse happened just once, or there was a pattern of abuse that continued for some time, we aim to give you all the information you may need to take action against the perpetrator or claim compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

What Is Sexual Abuse By A Stranger?

According to the police, sexual abuse by a stranger is unwanted sexual activity that could involve physical contact and non-contact acts without the consent of the other person, or without their understanding to be able to consent. While sexual abuse by someone you already know could be considered more common than abuse by a stranger, if you have been sexually abused by a stranger, this is a crime and should not go unpunished. However, some victims of sexual abuse may be traumatised, and may not be able to report it right away.

No matter how long it has been since the abuse when a victim feels ready to report what has happened to them, they should do so, and we believe they should also be entitled to compensation for the physical injuries and psychological injuries suffered as a result. Further information about reporting abuse and claiming compensation can be found later on in this guide.

Statistics Highlighting The Dangers Of Sexual Abuse By Strangers

According to Rape Crisis, the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimates that 7.5 per cent of adults aged between 18-74 have experienced sexual abuse of some kind before the age of 16. It is not clear how many of these experiences were perpetrated by adults or other children. While the perpetrator on 37 per cent of cases was someone who was a friend or acquaintance of the victim, it was reported that around a third of cases were perpetrated by a stranger.

In addition to this, it has also been estimated by the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) that 20 per cent of women and 4 per cent of men had experienced some form of sexual assault when they were over 16 up to March 2017. It was also estimated that 3.1 per cent of women and 0.8 per cent of men aged 16 to 59 had been sexually assaulted in the year ending March 2017.

Types Of Sexual Abuse Perpetrated By Strangers

There are many types of sexual abuse that could be perpetrated by strangers. This could involve:

  • Being raped
  • Being forced into sexual acts
  • Being touched in a sexual manner when you have not consented
  • Being forced to have sexual relationships with other people
  • Being forced to take part in viewing or making pornographic material
  • Being forced into prostitution
  • Being called sexual names
  • Being subjected to degrading treatment

Child Sexual Abuse And Consent

The age of consent for any kind of sexual activity in the UK is 16. This is regardless of the individual’s sexual orientation or gender. Any sexual activity with a person under this age of consent is an offence. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 offers some legal protection to children aged 12 and under who are not legally able to consent to any activity that is sexual in nature. Offences such as these could result in a maximum life sentence for those found guilty of sexual assault by penetration, rape or inciting or causing a child to be involved in sexual activities.

Signs Someone Has Been Sexually Abused By A Stranger

Sexual abuse signs and symptoms are not always visible, but you may notice the following signs that something is wrong:

  • Behaviour changes
  • Personality changes
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Aggression
  • Always wearing clothing that covers the body
  • Knowledge of things that may be inappropriate for their age
  • A change in their sociability
  • Changes in relationships with others
  • Being withdrawn

Signs That You Are Being Sexually Abused

You may not know whether you are being sexually abused or not. You may be being sexually abused by a stranger if you are being:

  • Touched in a way you do not want to be
  • Forced or coerced into having sex
  • Made to look at sexual photos or videos
  • Made to take sexual photos or videos
  • Made to be involved in making sexual photos or videos
  • Made to watch someone else engage in sexual activity
  • Are being made to do something sexual that feels uncomfortable

Traumatic Injuries Caused By Sexual Abuse

Depending on in what way you were sexually abused by a stranger, you may have suffered traumatic physical injuries. Some of these could include:

Genital injuries, such as lacerations, bruising, etc

Sexually transmitted infections – these could range from minor infections to serious conditions that may be lifelong

Pregnancy – If you were raped, this could lead to you becoming pregnant

Loss of a foetus – If you are already pregnant and are sexually assaulted, it could lead to the loss of a foetus.

If you have been sexually abused by a stranger, you could claim for sexual abuse compensation, either from the perpetrator themselves or through the CICA.

Psychological Injuries Caused By Sexual Abuse By A Stranger

Some incidences of sexual abuse could lead to psychological injuries that could include PTSD. In some cases, the psychological consequences of sexual abuse could be worse than the physical injuries.

If you are claiming for psychological injuries, you would be required to be assessed by a psychologist as part of your claim in order to confirm a diagnosis of injury. You could receive abuse compensation based on this assessment of your mental health.

Reporting Sexual Abuse, Assault And Sex-Based Violence

There are lots of ways in which you could get help and support if you have been the victim of sexual abuse by a stranger. The following organisations could offer support to victims and those that care for them.

Sexual abuse is a serious crime, if possible should be reported to the police, who will support you. You can report the abuse to the police by calling 999 or 101, reporting online, or visiting a police station.

I Was Sexually Abused By A Stranger – Can I Claim Compensation If I Don’t Report It?

It is vital that you report the abuse you’ve suffered if you intend on claiming compensation for it. While in some cases you could claim compensation from the perpetrator themselves, most cases would be dealt with through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, an authority that administers compensation to victims of violent crime for their injuries. As part of these CICA claims, you would have to have co-operated with the police to attempt to bring the perpetrator to justice. Therefore, you would have to have reported the sexual abuse to the police in order to claim.

What Is A Litigation Friend And How Could They Help Abuse Victims Claim Compensation?

If you are a child that has been sexually abused by a stranger, you may assume that you would not be able to claim until you reach adulthood. Your claim could be launched earlier than this if you have a litigation friend to help you claim. A litigation friend is an adult that does not have conflicting interests to yours and that could make fair and appropriate decisions on your case. Any of the following people could act as a litigation friend on your behalf:

  • A family member
  • A parent or guardian
  • A solicitor
  • A professional advocate

If you reach adulthood during the course of your claim, you could take over the decisions about your case and could ask the litigation friend to stop acting on your behalf.

Time Limits To File A Claim For Sexual Abuse By A Stranger

Depending on what type of claim you’re making as an abuse survivor, the personal injury claims time limit may vary. If, for example, you are claiming against the perpetrator themselves, you may have 3 years to make a claim in some cases, whereas if you are claiming through the CICA, you may have only a 2-year limit for claiming. However, some exceptions may exist that may mean you could claim after this limitation period has passed.

If you are sexually abused by a stranger and you are unable to properly process the abuse in order to be able to talk about it or report it within the limitation period, you may have longer to claim.

We want all victims of abuse to be able to get the compensation they deserve, and we urge you to get in touch with our team, even if some years have passed since the abuse. We could still help you claim as a victim of sexual abuse, even if the abuse was historical.

Compensation Calculator For Sexual Abuse By A Stranger

Are you looking to find out how much compensation your claim could be worth? If you are, you may have searched for a personal injury claims calculator to give you some insight into how much compensation could be claimed. However, it is important to remember that figures generated by these calculators are only rough estimates. Your claim could not be accurately valued without looking at the specific facts and circumstances of your case and assessing your injuries and prognosis too. If you make a claim, you would need to have an appointment with an independent medic in order that your injuries and prognosis could be verified. The medical report produced by the independent expert could then be used to give more of an idea of what compensation would be appropriate.

We understand that some people may find this frustrating. This is why we have decided to put together a table showing the approximate payout brackets for specific injuries for trauma and physical injuries from abuse.

The amounts you see in the table have been taken from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2012  and relate to the suffering, pain and loss of amenity caused by the injuries mentioned. If your injury does not appear in the table below, we could provide further insight over the phone.

Type of Injury Compensation Notes
Criminal injury claims multiple injuries. Up to £500,000
Rape £11,000 To £44,000 + their can be extras By one person
Assaults of a sexual nature over clothing £1,000 Minor acts without penetration
Assaults of a sexual nature under clothing £2,000 Serious acts without penetration
Assaults of a sexual nature non-penile penetrative or Oral to Genital £3,300 Severe sexual assault
Assaults of a sexual nature (frequent, repetitive assaults) £6,600 Severe sexual abuse lasting up to 3 years
Assaults of a sexual nature (frequent, repetitive assaults) £8,200 Severe sexual abuse lasting over 3 years
Assaults of a sexual nature (frequent, repetitive assaults) £22,000 Causing internal injuries
Assaults of a sexual nature (frequent, repetitive assaults) £22,000 Causing mental illness (moderate)
Assaults of a sexual nature (frequent, repetitive assaults) £27,000 Causing mental illness (severe)
Rape £13,500 By more than one person
Rape £22,000 Causing internal injuries (serious)
Rape £22,000 Causing moderate mental illness
Rape £27,000 Causing severe mental illness
Rape £33,000 Causing internal injuries (serious) and moderate mental illness
Rape £44,000 Causing internal injuries (serious) and severe mental illness
Sexual crime causing pregnancy £5,500
Sexual crime causing STIs £5,500 (HIV, Hepatitis B and C are excluded) recovery would be substantial
Sexual crime causing STIs £11,000 (HIV, Hepatitis B and C are excluded) permanent disability would be caused.
Sexual crime causing STIs £22,000 HIV, Hepatitis C and B
Sexual crime causing loss of a foetus £5,500

Please note if claiming against the defendant the awards could be different, the amounts shown are only if claiming through the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority.

Other Damages Which Sexual Abuse Victims Could Claim

There are also damages you could claim for some of the financial expenses associated with your injuries. These are known as special damages. If you are claiming through the CICA for financial expenses you would need to prove that the funds to cover the expenses could not be covered by another entity such as the NHS, the benefits office or the local authority for example. It is also vital that you are able to prove these expenses resulted directly from your injuries and that they are reasonable.

Proving you have incurred expenses due to being sexually abused by a stranger could involve providing receipts, bills, bank statements and payslips to the CICA. It is therefore very important that you keep such evidence safe so that you can provide it to your lawyer when they request it.

The types of expenses that could be compensated by the CICA could include:

Care costs – if your injuries were so severe that you were left needing care with toileting, meal preparation, etc, then your care costs could be compensated for by the CICA if they cannot be covered elsewhere for free.

Wage losses – If your injuries meant you were off work for over 28 weeks, you could receive compensation at the rate of Statutory Sick Pay.

Physical aids – Should your injuries have left you with the need for physical aids, and the costs for these could not be covered by the NHS, you could claim for them from the CICA as special expenses. In addition to this, if you required home adaptations to continue living in your home after an injury, the costs for these adaptations could also be claimed for.

Damage to your property – If your property is damaged during the abuse, the costs of a replacement for that property could also be compensated for.

Please note if claiming against the defendant special damages could be different, than if claiming through the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority.

No Win No Fee Claims If Sexually Abused By A Stranger

You may be a little concerned about how you would go about paying for assistance from a personal injury solicitor. If you are, then you may be surprised, and somewhat pleased to hear that if your solicitor took your claim on a No Win No Fee basis, you would not be required to make any payments upfront, or throughout your claim for legal fees. Instead, at the beginning of your claim, you would be asked to sign a Conditional Fee Agreement, promising to pay your personal injury lawyer a small success fee from your settlement. This fee is legally capped and would not be payable if your lawyer was not able to get you a compensation settlement. You would not have to cover their costs in pursuing the claim, either. Knowing you would only have to pay your solicitor once compensation had been paid out could give you the financial confidence you are looking for to pursue your claim for compensation. We would be glad to provide you with a solicitor working on this basis who could fight for the maximum settlement possible for your sexual abuse compensation claim.

Why Choose Our Team To Handle Your Criminal Injury Case?

Here at Accident Claims UK, we have successfully helped many claimants with a variety of personal injury claims. We are here to answer questions and provide guidance and support for claimants looking to launch a claim for their injuries. If you’re not sure whether you could be eligible to claim, we could help with this too – we would be happy to provide a free, no-obligation case check to see if you could be eligible for compensation. If we think your claim could result in compensation, we could even provide you with a No Win No Fee solicitor to begin a claim on your behalf. We aim to take the stress out of making a claim, so that you can concentrate on your future. Why not let us help you?

How A solicitor could help you make a claim if you have experienced abuse

We know that it will be difficult to make a claim if you’ve suffered sexual abuse by a stranger. While we can’t guarantee the outcome of any claim, our professional and experienced solicitors will always try to make the claims process easier for you. If you decide to work with us, and your claim is taken on, your solicitor will manage all aspects of the claim so that you don’t need to deal with the CICA team. Although they will need to discuss your claim with you, your solicitor won’t rush you or pressure you into proceeding with your claim.

During the claims process, your solicitor will:

  • Discuss your case with you so that they understand what happened and how it has affected you.
  • Arrange for a medical review to be carried out by an independent specialist. This will happen locally and in a comfortable location.
  • Gather the evidence required to support your claim such as criminal justice reference numbers.
  • Send the claim to the CICA and deal with them on your behalf.
  • Update you when there is progress in your case.
  • Be available to discuss any concerns or queries you might have.
  • Strive to make sure you are compensated as much as possible for your suffering.

Our team treat all calls sensitively and confidentially. Therefore, when you’re ready to begin, please call our advice centre for your free case review.

Start Your Claim

Our team are ready and waiting to give you the support you may be looking for to claim the compensation you deserve if you’ve been sexually abused by a stranger. You can reach us:

By phone: 0800 073 8801

By emailing office@accidentclaims.co.uk

Through the Live Chat feature on this page

Or, by completing the Contact Form.

We look forward to helping you with your claim.

Essential References

Prosecution Guidelines For Child Sexual Abuse – This page offers insight into prosecuting cases of child sexual abuse.

Child Abuse Claims – This guide looks at child abuse claims in more detail. You might find the information contained in this guide useful.

Historic Abuse – You can see more information relating to historical abuse claims here.

Rape Compensation – If you have been raped, this informative guide could offer some insight into making compensation claims of this type.

Other Useful Compensation Guides

If you have been sexually abused by a stranger and would like advice on the claims process, please get in touch for a free consultation with a specialist advisor.

Article by JJ

Edited by MM.