By Fern Easton. Last Updated 8th March 2021. Welcome to our guide, looking at the question, “I was sexually abused by a teacher, can I claim?”. If you were sexually abused by a teacher, whether at school, college, or another educational facility, you might be entitled to seek compensation for the harm, damage and suffering caused by your abuser. If you are still a minor and have suffered abuse by a teacher, a member of your family, or an appointed litigation friend could act on your behalf when making a personal injury claim for compensation.
To find out more on how to go about making a sexual abuse claim against a teacher, how much compensation could be awarded in successful claims and what evidence is needed to support a claim, please continue reading. Our guide also covers when and why a litigation friend could be appointed and the role they play in sexual abuse claims that involve minors. We also answer the question, “I was sexually abused by a teacher, can I claim, and if so, what steps should I take?”. To find out more, please call a member of our team on 0800 073 8801. Our lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You may want a little more information on the process of claiming compensation for sexual abuse by a teacher and the sort of evidence needed to prove a case against your abuser, in which case, please select a section below.
- A Guide To Sexual Abuse Claims Against Teachers
- What Is Sexual Abuse By A Teacher?
- Different Types Of Sexual Abuse Experienced In School Settings
- Signs And Symptoms That Children Are Being Abused By A Teacher
- Psychological And Physical Harm Caused To Children Sexually Abused By A Teacher
- Schools’ Vicarious Liability For Sexual Abuse By Teachers
- How Do You Report Being Sexually Abused By Your Teacher
- How Litigation Friends Support Younger Victims Of Sexual Abuse Claim Compensation
- Limitation Periods To Claim For Sexual Abuse By A Teacher
- Calculating Compensation If Sexually Abused By A Teacher
- Could I Claim Damages For Financial Losses Or Expenses?
- No Win No Fee Claims If The Victim OF Sexual Abuse By A Teacher
- Why Choose Us For Your Sexual Abuse Compensation Claim
- Start Your Claim
- Essential References
Our guide offers information on how to go about seeking compensation if you were, or are, being sexually abused by a teacher. Sexual abuse in primary schools or sexual abuse in secondary schools is unacceptable. It must be reported to school administrators and the authorities as soon as possible.
We go into the process of making a personal injury claim and the options available, which includes submitting an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority or making a personal injury claim through the Civil Court. We explain how the time limit associated with sexual abuse claims must be respected and how different circumstances may affect the deadline if you pursue an application to the CICA for sexual abuse compensation.
The guide also covers the following:
- The definition of sexual abuse, whether it is contact or non-contact abuse
- How to go about reporting sexual abuse by a teacher
- Whether vicarious liability’ would apply to a claim and what this means
- The process of starting a claim for compensation
- The sort of damages that could be recovered in a sexual abuse by a teacher claim, either in a personal injury case or through the CICA
- We provide a general idea of how much sexual abuse compensation you could be awarded in a successful case against a responsible party through the CICA or a court ruling
- How a solicitor could represent you on a No Win No Fee basis and what this would entail
- How we can assist you by offering essential advice on whether you should make an application to the CICA or whether it would be better to pursue a sexual abuse claim through the courts
Should you have any further questions having read through our guide, please get in touch with one of our advisers. We would be more than happy to answer any queries you may have about pursuing a sexual abuse claim against a teacher, the school or other educational facility. So if you still find yourself asking, “I was sexually abused by a teacher, can I claim?” by the end of this article, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Before answering the question, “I was sexually abused by a teacher, can I claim?” we should look at what sexual abuse by a teacher entails. An educational institution is expected to be a safe place for children and younger students. They have a legal duty to ensure that nobody in their care comes to harm in an educational environment. Any breach of this duty is taken extremely seriously, and the consequences severe. When it comes to child abuse in a school environment, it could involve physical abuse and/or psychological damage to the victim. It can affect a sexually abused child for the remainder of their lives.
As previously mentioned, educational institutions have a legal duty to ensure that children in their care are kept safe from any sort of harm. Should a teacher sexually abuse a child in their care, the consequences can be devastating for the child. Sexual abuse, whether by a teacher or other perpetrator, comes in many forms, which could include the following:
- Contact sexual abuse – this form of sexual abuse occurs in person or when a child/minor or younger person is online
- Non-contact sexual abuse – this is where an abuser has no physical contact with the child they are abusing sexually
Contact sexual abuse on the part of a teacher may include the following actions:
- Touching a part of a child’s body parts in a sexual manner, whether a child is wearing clothes or not
- Using something, an object, or a body part to penetrate a child, or when they are raping them
- Making a child in a school environment or elsewhere take part in activities of a sexual nature
- Forcing the child to take their clothes off or to touch somebody
- Forcing a child to kiss, touch or have oral sex—sexual abuse does not necessarily have to involve penetrative sex
Non-contact sexual abuse of a child by a teacher in a school environment could include the following actions:
- A teacher flashing or exposing themselves to a child
- Showing a child pornographic images or videos
- Forcing a child at school to watch acts of a sexual nature
- Forcing a child to masturbate
- Making a child share, view or make images or videos of child abuse
- Making a child take part in activities or conversations of a sexual nature on their smartphones or online
If you are being or were sexually abused by a teacher, you can find support and advice from experienced advisers who work for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) on 0808 800 5000.
You can also contact the NSPCC online to report child abuse by clicking here.
There are various types of sexual abuse that a child may be subjected to in a school setting where the abuser is a teacher who should be deemed a person of ‘trust’. A younger child may not appreciate or understand what they are being asked, or forced to do, is wrong. It could be they are not physically touched by a teacher but asked or forced into doing non-contact things of a sexual nature. This could be things like watching pornographic images or videos.
A child may be forced into taking part in non-contact activities of a sexual nature as described below:
- Their abuser, in this instance, a teacher, may expose themselves to the child
- A child may be forced to masturbate in front of their abuser
- The abuser may force the child to talk about things of a sexual nature, whether this is in person, on a smartphone, or online
A teacher may force a child to take part in contact sexual activities, which could involve the following:
- Being subjected to having parts of their body touched in a sexual manner by their abuser
- Forcing a child to have sex with them which could include them using a body part or object to penetrate the child or to rape them
- Forcing a child to perform acts of a sexual nature
- Forcing a child to remove their clothes
- The abuser could force a child to kiss, have oral sex, or touch them
If you suspect that a child may be the victim of sexual abuse in a school environment, you must report your concerns immediately to the school administrators. Following this, if you need more advice, you should contact the NSPCC.
If a child begins to act strangely, and they start doing or saying things that are out of character, it could be just a stage they are going through. However, if you suspect that something more worrying may be happening when they are at school, you must contact the school and voice your concerns. Indicators that a child may be the victim of sexual abuse in a school setting where a teacher may be the perpetrator could include the following:
- A child may hint or tell you about what is happening to them
- They may be experiencing soreness around their genitals
- They may have unexplained injuries and bruises
- They may have contracted a sexually transmitted infection
- They suddenly know inappropriate words and behaviours of a sexual nature they should not be aware of given their young age
It is worth noting that not only younger children may be the victims of sexual abuse in an educational institution. It happens to older children, too, whether they are in secondary school, at college, in a public or private school or another educational facility. If you are at all concerned, you should contact the NSPCC for advice and support on how to deal with the situation.
The effects and consequences of a child being subjected to any form of sexual abuse by a teacher in what should be a ‘safe environment’ are devastating. It often results in the following:
- A sexually abused child finds it hard to form relationships. Their education and health are badly impacted by the experiences
- They may start self-harming
- A child who is the victim of sexual abuse would find it hard to trust anyone
- They could run away from home and develop uncharacteristic and destructive behaviours
- They may suffer issues with brain development
An adult who was sexually abused by a teacher in childhood, or when they were in secondary school or another educational facility, often finds it much harder to cope with stressful situations in later life. Other consequences may include the following:
- Harder to find meaningful employment
- Harder to be a ‘good’ parent to their own children
- They may become alcohol or drug dependant
- They may turn to crime
- They could suffer mental health issues, depression, suicidal thoughts as well as eating disorders
- They may have low self-esteem
- They suffer poor physical health
- They often display anger, sadness, and anxiety
The consequence of being sexually abused by a teacher, or anyone else, can be short-term, but more often than not, the negative effects last a lifetime. Children who were abused are more likely to be the victims of abuse later in life, which is referred to as ‘re-victimisation’.
For more details looking at the question “I was sexually abused by a teacher, can I claim and if so, who would I claim against?” read on to the next section.
When making a claim for compensation for sexual abuse committed by a teacher but holding the school’s administration responsible, you must be able to prove ‘vicarious liability’ on the part of the educational facility responsible for the actions of their staff. This means you would have to prove the teacher responsible was abusing a child while carrying out their duties as an employee.
You would have to establish that the teacher who abused a child used their position of trust within the educational facility to commit sexual abuse. If you are at all concerned and need advice on vicarious liability, please get in touch today and a member of our team will assist you by answering any questions and queries you may have.
Sexual abuse by teachers statistics
There are many reasons why the reporting of child sexual abuse is not as common as we might hope, meaning that the statistics released in regards to it are not always accurate. Adults who abuse children often do so in a way that makes the child fearful of repercussions if they tell anyone about the abuse or are threatened to keep silent.
The Crime Survey for England and Wales for the year leading up to March 2019 asked responders about any sexual abuse they had experienced before the age of 16, meaning that this data relates to adults who experienced sexual abuse in their childhoods.
The graph below shows what relationship these abusers had with their victim. There’s no particular category for teachers, as teachers fall under the category of “person in a position of trust or authority”. This category also includes other roles such as doctors or religious figures, and so these figures don’t tell us how frequent abuse by teachers specifically was.
As we can see from the graph below, men were more likely to have been abused by someone in a position of authority than women at 16% compared to 6%.
The CSEW also shows us that in the survey, 8% of responders reported being subjected to contact sexual abuse in a school or college. Although there is no way of knowing how many of this abuse was committed by teachers as opposed to other children, we can assume that there are some instances of sexual abuse by a teacher recorded in this survey.
If you or a loved one was the victim of sexual abuse by a teacher, or you are concerned that a teacher may be abusing a child, you must report your concerns to the school authorities straight away. Once the report has been made, you may have to call the police, and you would be visited by trained child protection police officers. If you prefer, you can arrange for the meeting with the police to take place somewhere else that is deemed safe.
What Happens If The School Was Aware Of The Abuse?
If it is found that a school was aware a child was sexually abused by a teacher, they could be held negligent in their duty of care towards the child by allowing the abuse to occur. An example being as follows:
- If the child told someone employed at the school about the abuse they were being subjected to and nothing was done, or if the teacher had a criminal record of abusing children in the past, the school could be deemed negligent and, therefore, held liable.
If you’re asking, “I was sexually abused by a teacher, can I claim if I’m under 18?” this section will be of help to you. If a sexual abuse claim is filed on behalf of a minor (a child under the age of eighteen), a family member or other responsible party can be appointed by the courts. This is known as a ‘litigation friend’, and they can be appointed for the following:
- A civil case against an abuser (with the exception of tribunals)
- A family case
- A Court of Protection case
Should there be a hearing, the litigation friend would have to appear in court but would not be permitted to act as a child’s legal representative. It is worth noting that should the claimant be an adult and are represented by a litigation friend, they are referred to by the court as the ‘protected party’.
If you are wondering “I was sexually abused by a teacher, can I claim and if so how long do I have?” then this section will help you. The time limit associated with claiming compensation if you were sexually abused by a teacher, whether in primary school, secondary school or at another stage of your education, would depend on whether you make a personal injury claim through a Civil Court or the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
The time limit associated with personal injury claims made through a Civil Court against a party responsible allows anyone under the age of eighteen to claim sexual abuse compensation right up to the time they turn 21 years of age. However, because claims of this nature are sensitive, courts understand there may be a valid reason why a person failed to respect the statutory time limit. The courts have the discretionary power to extend the time limit providing it can be shown the claimant could not do so before due to exceptional circumstances.
If a child is sexually abused by a teacher, a member of the family or other responsible party can be appointed by the court to act on the child’s behalf. The appointed person would be referred to as the child’s litigation friend. The time limit for making a claim against a school or responsible party would be 3 years, or up to the time a child reaches twenty-one years of age.
However, if the claim is filed through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, the time limit is shorter. You have 2 years to submit an application for sexual abuse compensation to the CICA. Again, the authority does have discretionary powers when it comes to extending the time limit as long as you can prove that ‘exceptional circumstances’ prevented you from submitting an application on time.
For an answer to the question, “I was sexually abused by a teacher, can I claim and if so, how much could I be owed?” please read on to the next section.
The level of compensation that may be awarded in a case of sexual abuse by a teacher would depend on several things. Firstly, compensation awarded through a civil action would be calculated differently from that awarded by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
The table below offers a general idea of the amount that may be awarded in general damages in a claim filed through the court. The amounts given are based on the Judicial College Guidelines, which insurers, solicitors and the courts use to calculate how much a claimant may be awarded. Bear in mind that you may be awarded special damages on top of the amounts provided in the table:
Severe damage to pelvis/hips, damage to organs - impacting mobility and birth canal £73,580 - £122,860
Serious damage to pelvis/hips, bladder damage, soft tissue damage £58,100 - £73,580
Injuries to pelvis/hips needing hip replacement, leg instability, hip replacements with high risk of further intervention £36,770 - £49,270
Serious damage to pelvis/hips, with no permanent disability or future risk £24,950 - £36,770
Requires hip replacement with no future risk, or instances where future surgery may be required £11,820 - £24,950
Significant injury where the injured person recovers within two years £3,710 - £11,820
Soft tissue damage Up to £3,710
If you make an application to the CICA for sexual abuse compensation, the amounts that may be awarded would be based on the CICA’s tariff of injuries. The amounts indicated below are given as a guideline only and do not include ‘special expenses’ that may be awarded in a successful CICA sexual abuse claim:
Injury Details CICA Compensation Serious injury to the head £6,200 Scarring to the face resulting in severe disfigurement £11,000 Severe and permanent loss of vision £44,000 Multiple fractures to the face. £11,000 A nasal injury resulting in partial loss of taste, smell or both. £3,500 Depressed fracture to the skull requiring surgery £4,600 Loss of 4 or more front teeth £3,500 Fracture/dislocation of one elbow causing significant disability £6,200 Fractured humerus resulting in a significant disability £3,500 Dislocated shoulder causingcontinuing and significant disability £3,500
You could claim out of pocket expenses in a sexual abuse claim made through the Civil Court. This could include claiming for the following expenses and costs:
- Medical expenses
- Travel costs
- Care costs
- Loss of earnings and future income
- Any other expenses linked to an injury
For claims made through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, you may be able to claim ‘special expenses’, but for the authority to consider these, you must show the expenditure was necessary and that they were ‘reasonable’.
If you are concerned about the cost of hiring a solicitor to represent you in a sexual abuse claim for compensation, we offer clients No Win No Fee terms once we have established the claim is valid. This would mean signing a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) which sets out the terms and conditions of the agreement as well as the amount—a percentage—that you agree to pay the solicitor, but only if your sexual abuse claim is successful.
You would not have to pay any fees to a No Win No Fee solicitor, whether this is an upfront fee or ongoing fees. The only time you pay is when you are awarded compensation, and the amount is taken from the money you receive. Should your case be unsuccessful, the ‘success fee’ would not be payable because the solicitor signed a No Win No Fee agreement with you.
We work hard to secure fair and acceptable compensation for all our clients, and with decades of legal experience, we are fully aware of the time limits and pre-action protocols associated with personal injury claims, which includes those involving sexual abuse. Other reasons why we could assist you when pursuing compensation include the following:
- Should a report from an independent specialist or consultant be needed, we would arrange for you to be examined by a medical professional local to you
- We would keep you apprised of everything during the entire process
- We would work hard and negotiate interim payments are secured so that you are not put under financial stress until a settlement is agreed
To start a claim for compensation, please contact a member of our team today on 0800 073 8801.
If, however, you would like to contact us via email, you can do so at the following address:
Alternatively, you can request we call you back by filling out the form provided.
For more advice on how to report sexual abuse by a teacher, please follow the link provided below:
If you are worried about reporting child abuse, the following provides guidelines on how to do this safely:
For more information on sexual child abuse statistics in the UK, please follow the link provided below:
If you would like more information on claiming compensation for historical sexual abuse, please click on the link below:
For more information about how much you could be owed in a sexual abuse compensation claim, please click on the link provided below:
Thank you for reading our guide addressing the question, “I was sexually abused by a teacher, can I claim?”.
Guide by HW
Edited by REB