I Was Sexually Abused By An Ex-Partner, Can I Claim?

Blurry image of a woman looking away as she's getting grabbed by someone

By Brett Williams. Last updated 18th August 2021. Victims of sexual abuse could suffer a variety of physical and emotional effects of such abuse, and these could leave them with both short and long-term problems. One question we are asked by those who have been sexually abused by an ex-partner is ‘Can I claim compensation?’ This is a question we are pleased to be able to answer in this guide.

Here at Accident Claims UK, we want every victim of sexual abuse to know their rights on whether they could claim for sexual assault, molestation, domestic abuse and domestic violence. We recognise that this is a sensitive subject and that many victims don’t report their abuse at the time, so we have taken this into account when putting together this guide.

In the sections below, we explain what constitutes sexual abuse, how victims could suffer short and long-term harm for it, and what their rights are when seeking compensation. We also offer some insight into how much compensation for sexually abused victims could be appropriate.

In addition to this, we provide information on how to make a claim for criminal injuries compensation. we can also put you in touch with a lawyer from our team. If you’d like to speak to us in confidence about your claim, you can call our team on 0800 073 8801. We will treat your case with the utmost sensitivity and care.

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A Guide: Sexually Abused By Ex-Partner, Can I Claim?

Many victims do not report their sexual abuse at the time as they may be struggling to deal with what has happened to them. When it comes to claiming compensation as a victim of abuse, rape, sexual assault or molestation, the courts and the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) could take into account a delay in reporting. So, even if years have passed before you’ve been able to report the abuse, you could still make a claim for compensation. We have created this guide to show you how.

In the sections below, we explain what constitutes sexual abuse by an ex-partner, and what the signs of sexual abuse could be. We talk about the short and long-term effects of abuse and whether you could take legal action directly against a domestic abuse perpetrator or whether you’d have to file a criminal injuries compensation claim.

In addition, we explain how compensation for victims of sexual abuse could not only compensate them for sexual injuries, but also for the mental trauma they may have faced. Finally, we explain how we could help those who have faced such abuse seek the sexual abuse compensation they deserve.

What Is A Sexual Abuse By An Ex-Partner?

Before we answer the question ‘I was sexually abused by an ex-partner, can I claim compensation?’, let us first give you a sexual abuse definition.

The definition of sexual abuse by an ex-partner is any abusive, unwanted sexual behaviour by one partner to another. It could be perpetrated using force or coercion and could include rape, sexual assault, being forced to watch or engage in sexual acts and more.

Sexual Abuse Examples

Some examples of sexual abuse within a relationship could include:

  • Rape
  • Your ex-partner forcing you to have sexual activity with other people
  • Being forced to participate in a sexual act
  • Your ex-partner forcing you to take part in making sexual imagery, or forcing you to look at sexual imagery

This is not an exhaustive list.

Who Would Pay Compensation For Sexually Abused Victims In The UK

It is important to recognise that, while in some cases you could make a claim for sexual abuse against an ex-partner directly, in many cases, you would claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). We explain about making both types of claims in the below sections.

If you’re unsure whether you could claim against the perpetrator of domestic violence or sexual abuse or through the CICA, we could help you. We could assess your case for free and try to find the most appropriate route to compensation for you. If we feel that you could have a valid case, we could connect you with a lawyer who could fight for the compensation you deserve for the abuse you’ve experienced.

What Harm Could Be Caused By Sexual Abuse?

Sexual assault, abuse and molestation of any type could lead to significant physical and emotional effects for those who suffer it. Some signs that the abuse has affected you mentally could include:

  • Depression
  • Self-harm
  • Flashbacks
  • PTSD
  • Panic attacks
  • Disassociation
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicide
  • Sleep disorders

The physical effects of sexual abuse could include:

  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Pregnancy
  • Bruising
  • Cuts and lacerations to the genitals, thighs and other body parts

Source: https://www.rainn.org/effects-sexual-violence

Long-Term Harm Caused By Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse could cause long-term harm to a victim. Whether they have sought help with the physical injuries they’ve sustained or not, the mental and emotional trauma could still remain.

Whether the relationship meant they were a victim of domestic violence, or whether they were coerced into taking part in unwanted sexual activity, the long-term psychological effects could be significant.

According to The Survivors Trust, feelings may include those of:

  • Confusion
  • Denial
  • Embarrassment
  • Fear, distrust
  • Guilt, shame, self-blame
  • Isolation or loneliness
  • Lack of control
  • Numbness
  • Sadness or anger
  • Shock, disbelief
  • Vulnerability

Source: https://www.thesurvivorstrust.org/the-effects-of-sexual-violence-how-to-support-a-survivor

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders

The Survivors Trust also recognises that victims of sexual abuse or sexual violence could also suffer PTSD. This could be a significantly disabling condition, and could lead to symptoms such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dissociation
  • Flashbacks and nightmares
  • Irritability and outbursts of anger
  • Sleep problems
  • Suicidal thoughts

Can Compensation For Sexual Abuse Help With Closure?

If you have been a victim of sexual abuse, compensation may not take away what has happened to you. In some cases, compensation for victims of sexual abuse could help them feel that they had taken back some power. It could also help, in some cases, to pay for psychological treatments and counselling to help victims recover.

Types Of Sexual Offences

According to the CPS, sexual abuse offences could be broken down as below:

Rape And Sexual Assault: Rape occurs when a person uses the penis without the consent of the other party to penetrate their anus, mouth or vagina. Legally, those without penises cannot commit rape, but females may be found guilty of rape if they help a male perpetrator in such an attack.

Sexual assault, by the CPS’ definition, is when someone is coerced or forced to engage in sexual activity against their will. It could also include where any person touches another person in a sexual manner without their consent. This could include touching with an object or with a body part. Sexual penetration is where a person penetrates the anus or vagina of another with an object or body part without the other person’s consent.

Child sexual abuse: Child abuse of a sexual nature could include physical contact such as rape or sexual penetration, touching, masturbation, kissing, and rubbing. It could also include non-contact activity, such as involving children in looking at or making sexual images, and encouraging them to engage in sexual activity. This list is not exhaustive.

Domestic Violence And Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse can be a form of domestic violence. Domestic violence (or abuse) can occur between family members or in a couple relationship.

No matter what type of sexual abuse you’ve been harmed by, it is never your fault. You have the right not to be abused in your relationship and you have a right to take action against those that have harmed you.

Getting Help After Being Sexually Abused By An Ex-Partner

If you’ve been abused by an ex-partner, there are organisations that could help you. You do not have to report the sexual abuse to the police if you do not want to. However, if you’re wondering ‘Can you get compensation for being sexually abused?’, you would usually have to have reported the abuse to the police.

Some services that could be a means to you coming to term with the abuse (whether you intend to report what has happened or not) could include:

Getting Help From A Sexual Assault Referral Centre

A sexual assault referral centre (SARC) could help you if you’ve been sexually abused. They are staffed by trained professionals that could speak to you and take care of your medical needs. They could also, with your permission, arrange a forensic medical examination.

If you report the sexual abuse by an ex-partner to the police, they could refer you to such a centre, or you could refer yourself to a clinic. Either way, they could arrange for you to speak to a specially trained police officer, who could explain what’s involved in the process before you agree to any treatment or to report your abuse formally.

Will I Need To Have A Forensic Medical Examination?

You do not have to undergo a forensic medical examination if you’ve been sexually abused by an ex-partner. However, it could help your case as it could help to collect forensic medical evidence of your injuries.

Usually, the forensic examination would take place at a police suite or at a SARC. The examination would involve you being asked questions about what happened. The professionals attending to you may take the relevant swabs, blood and hair samples.

If you have not made a decision as to whether to report the sexual abuse, any evidence will be held securely to give you time to make the decision.

Sexually Abused By An Ex-Partner Compensation Calculator

If you’re making a claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority for sexual abuse compensation, the scheme does not have a specific sexual abuse compensation calculator. Instead, there is a tariff for specific injuries you may have sustained. To give you some idea of how much you could claim through the CICA we look to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme Tariff 2012.

Attack/Abuse Notes Level of Compensation
Sexual assault Non-penetrative over clothing acts (minor) £1,000
Sexual assault Non-penetrative under clothing acts (serious) £2,000
Penetrative/Oral-Genital sexual assaults Non-penile £3,300
Frequent, repetitive assaults of a sexual nature <3 years £6,600
Frequent, repetitive assaults of a sexual nature Over three years £8,200
Rape By a sole attacker £11,000
Rape By multiple attackers £13,500
Frequent, repetitive assaults of a sexual nature With internal injuries £22,000
Frequent, repetitive assaults of a sexual nature With mental injuries (moderate) £22,000
Rape With serious internal injuries £22,000
Rape With mental injuries (moderate) £22,000
Frequent, repetitive assaults of a sexual nature With mental injuries (severe) £27,000
Rape With mental injuries (severe) £27,000
Rape With mental injuries (moderate) and serious internal injuries. £33,000

Sexual Abuse Compensation From A Perpetrator Directly: sexually abused by ex-partner can I claim

If you’re looking to find out how much compensation you could claim directly from a domestic abuse perpetrator, you might be searching for a claims calculator to help you work this out. However, these tools can’t look at all the evidence and facts of your case. Therefore, they could only be able to give you a very rough estimate.

Lawyers have to assess all this information before they work out what could be an appropriate value for your claim. One vital piece of evidence they would assess would be the medical evidence. To collect this, you’d need to visit an independent expert so they could examine you and write a medical report with information about your injuries and prognosis. A solicitor could use this to value your injuries

To give you some insight into compensation payouts for specific injuries, we look to the Judicial College Guidelines, a legal publication. This is something that lawyers could use to hone in on a value for your injuries. If you cannot see the injuries you’ve sustained below, please don’t hesitate to call us – we have access to information on other injuries too.

Injury type Notes Guideline Amount
Psychiatric Damage Severe £51,460 to £108,620
Psychiatric Damage Moderately Severe £17,900 to £51,460
Psychiatric Damage Moderate £5,500 to £17,900
PTSD Severe £56,180 to £94,470

Special Damages For Sexual Abuse Victims

If you’ve been sexually abused by an ex-partner, and ask ‘Can I claim special damages?’, these could differ depending on whether you were making a claim through the sexual abuse compensation scheme or not.

CICA Claim Special Expenses

You could claim lost earnings where you have got limited or no ability to work because of the abuse.

You could seek special expenses payments if your injuries mean you have been unable to work or have been incapacitated for more than 28 weeks. They could include:

  • Physical aids needed because of injuries – only if the NHS could not provide them and you paid for them.
  • Costs of adaptations to the home because of the injuries (e.g. a ramp, a stairlift).
  • Care costs – only if care could not be provided from another source such as the local authority.

Civil Claims Special Damages

As well as claiming compensation for the suffering and pain your injuries cause you, you could also claim special damages if you make a claim directly against the perpetrator. These relate to the pecuniary (financial) costs of your injuries, which could include:

  • Income loss: If a victim has to take unpaid time off work due to their injury, they could claim for income loss. Income loss claims could include bonuses and regular overtime and, in some cases, could include future loss of earnings.
  • Care costs: Should your injuries leave you needing assistance at home with washing or dressing, this could lead to care costs. You could include such costs within your claim.
  • Travel expenses: Have you incurred travel expenses getting to hospital appointments related to your injuries or meetings with your lawyer? If so, you could also include these as special damages.
  • Medical costs: While much medical treatment is free on the NHS at the point of access, you may incur some medical expenses due to your injuries, such as physiotherapy fees or prescription charges. You could also include these within your claim.

No Win No Fee Claims If Sexually Abused By An Ex-Partner

Now we have answered the question of ‘I was sexually abused by an ex-partner – can I claim?’ you may wish to begin a claim for sexual abuse compensation. If you want assistance from a lawyer when making your claim, you may be concerned about the amount of money you’d have to pay them for their fee. If you choose to work with a No Win No Fee injury lawyer, you don’t have to pay them their fee upfront. And you won’t pay the fee if your claim isn’t successful.

How do No Win No Fee claims work?

  • To make a claim under these terms, you’d first need to sign a No Win No Fee agreement. This is a document that your lawyer would send you, and it contains details of the success fee you’d need to pay them if your claim is successful. You only pay this fee if your claim results in compensation and it is legally capped.
  • Once your lawyer receives your signed agreement, they begin work on your claim.
  • If successful, when your payout comes through, they will take out the sum agreed as the success fee and you’ll benefit from the balance.
  • If they cannot get you any compensation, you won’t pay the success fee.

To learn more about No Win No Fee claims, you can call our team with any questions.

Start Your Sexual Abuse Claim Against An Ex-Partner

You should hopefully now have your answer to ‘I was sexually abused by an ex-partner, can I claim compensation?’ Would you like help from a solicitor for your sexual assault claim but aren’t sure where to start? Perhaps you have questions about claiming. Or would you like to obtain a free, no-obligation eligibility check on your case? Whatever you need, we’re here to help. You can reach our team at any time by:

Ways in which a specialist solicitor can help you claim if you have been sexually abused by an ex-partner

We know that the process of claiming for abuse by an ex-partner is not going to be easy for you. However, our specialist advisors and solicitors will do all they can to reduce the amount of stress involved. We’ll work at a pace that suits you where possible and we won’t put any pressure upon you within the claims process. Your initial consultation will be handled sensitively and confidentially.

If your case is accepted, and you decide to proceed with a claim, your solicitor will aim to do as much as possible on your behalf. Initially, they’ll gather evidence to support your claim such as doctor’s records and police reports. Then they’ll book a medical consultation with an independent specialist in a comfortable local venue.

After your claim has been filed, your solicitor will provide you regular updates and be there to deal with any queries you might have. They will also liaise with the CICA officers if they have any queries about your claim.

The aim of your solicitor will be to try and make sure that any compensation you are paid is set at a fair level to help compensate you for your suffering. If you would like our support when making a claim, please call today.


Essential References

Domestic Violence In The UK: This ONS report gives information on UK domestic violence statistics.

Domestic Violence Help: You can find out more about help for domestic violence here.

Do Sexually Abused Victims Get Compensation From The Government?: This government guide shows how CICA claims work.

Sexual Abuse Compensation: This guide explains the signs of sexual abuse and how you could claim compensation for sexual abuse.

Rape claims: If you have been raped, you could claim compensation. Our guide shows you how.

Psychological Injury – You can find out more about claiming for psychological injuries here.

Sexual Abuse Statistics

According to Rape Crisis, The Crime Survey For England and Wales revealed that in the year ending March 2017:

  • 4% of men and 20% of women experienced sexual assault of some type from the age of 16.
  • This equates to 631,000 male victims and 3.4 million females.
  • 510,000 (3.1%) of women and 138,000 (0.8%) of men ages between 16 and 59 experienced a sexual assault in the year ending March 2017.

The important thing to recognise is that you are not alone. We would urge you to seek the help you feel you need if you have been the victim of sexual abuse by an ex-partner. Then, you could get appropriate advice.

Sexual Abuse FAQs

Time limits on sexual abuse claims

For many personal injury claims, there is usually a claims time limit of three years. However, this would not be the case in CICA claims. It is usually two years. however, it could take some time for a person to deal with the abuse mentally before they could come forward. If you’d like to know whether you could still claim years after sexual abuse, we could help you.

Can you claim for historic child abuse?

If you were under 18 when you suffered abuse by an ex-partner, you could still claim compensation. Child sexual abuse cases can be heard many years after the abuse took place. This is because a child may not come to terms with the abuse at the time and may not be emotionally capable of reporting abuse and making a claim.

We hope that this guide about claiming after being sexually abused by an ex-partner has been helpful in some way.

Guide by JJ

Edited by RV