If you were an adult at the time of the incident, you should apply within two years of the date of the incident. However, the time limit can be extended if there were exceptional circumstances which prevented you from applying earlier and the evidence to support the application means it can be determined without further extensive enquiries.
If you were a child under 18 years old at the time of the incident, the two-year time limit doesn’t apply. If the incident was reported to the police before the child turned 18, then the two-year limit would run from the date the child turned 18, i.e. they would have to make the claim before their 20th birthday.
The CICA will consider extending time limits where you can prove that you were unable to make the claim earlier, for example, if you had a psychological illness as a result of the incident. So it’s always best to check with the CICA first to see if it’s still possible to bring a claim, even if you’re outside of the applied time limit.