We are going to look at claiming for sexual abuse, assault or rape from a doctor. Sadly, there have been several cases where those in a medical position of power have abused the trust that their patients have, leaving them with irreparable trauma and mental distress.
Close to 150 doctors in the last 5 years have been disciplined for sexual misconduct. The real figure is likely to be much higher, due to victims not coming forward out of fear and shame. Shockingly, some victims may also not realise they have been assaulted or raped, as it may have happened while they were sedated or unconscious. On average, around 28 doctors are sanctioned each year by the GMC. The GMC (General medical council) are responsible for overseeing close to 350,000 doctors in the UK. They have the power to suspend, investigate and complete wipe a doctor from the GMC register.
Through the CICA, claiming for rape or sexual assault by a doctor is the same general process that is usually followed for rape and sexual assault cases. The applicant would first need to pass the eligibility criteria and the incident/s must have been reported to the police. As with all CICA claims, there doesn’t need to be a prosecution of the offender, just cooperation from the Applicant with the police. It is likely that the GMC would become involved, especially if the Applicant makes a complaint to them direct. If the GMC conduct their own investigation the CICA may use their findings as evidence to further support the decision on the claim. The CICA will also use any medical evidence that relates to the rape/assault, both for physical and mental injuries.
The other claim route that can be taken is directly against the employer of the offender. This may either be the NHS, or a private company if the individual is employed privately. Let’s first look at claims against a private organization and how they work.
If a doctor is employed directly by a privately owned company, a claim can be lodged against them directly, as the offender in question is a direct employee. This method of claim is often worth more financially than a CICA claim, as the compensation is paid by the insurers of the company, whereas the CICA have set amounts that they can award. If you have been a victim of rape or assault by a doctor at a private clinic, the first step is reporting it, both to the police and the company. The police will investigate, and it is best to wait for the outcome of the criminal proceedings has been decided before launching a claim. This is because a conviction in criminal law is fact in civil law, meaning that the company would not be able to argue the fact that the incident occurred. A letter of claim would be drafted and presented to the company. Based on their response, the claim goes from there.
If a doctor is employed by the NHS, the process is a little different. The NHS have an in-house team who deal with all patient complaints and feedback. They are called PALS. If you have been assaulted by a doctor who works for the NHS, the first step would be to report it to the police and PALS if the police advise to do so. Again, it is best to await the outcome of the criminal proceedings before launching a civil claim as the outcome of the criminal proceedings would become fact in the civil case. A letter of claim would then be sent to the trust that oversee the district that the offender works in. Once a response is received, the claim goes from there.
More and more cases are emerging of historic sexual abuse within care facilities such as Psychiatric hospitals and secure units. Despite the incidents themselves occurring decades ago, victims are still now likely able to claim for compensation. What tends to make these claimable for so many years later is if there are multiple victims. For example, if victim A wished to claim, they would likely be able to do so without a direct conviction, as the offender has already been convicted for the same crime against other victims. Of course, the case is always made stronger if a conviction is brought against the offender for the crimes they committed to the victim. It is important to remember that regardless the crime does still need to be reported to the police, even if it is years later. These historical cases also tie in with the fact that decades ago many police forces failed to properly investigate allegations of sexual abuse and rape within healthcare settings.
Another type of claim that could potentially be made is against the individual themselves. For many types of claims, this option is not feasible as it is often common that the offender does not have the funds available to compensate the victim. However, a doctor is often a high paying job role, depending on where they work and to what level of work they undertake. This possibly means that a claim could be brought against the individual privately. Unfortunately, it can be rather difficult to find a representative who would take this kind of work on, on a no win no fee basis, due to the high risk associated with a private claim.
The number one thing to remember is that you are not alone. There are many resources available to support you in coming forward to help charge and prosecute the offender, and get the justice that you deserve. Search for local rape and sexual assault charities in your area for further guidance and support.
If you have been a victim of rape or sexual assault by a doctor, please contact us today. We can confidentially and compassionately discuss the case factors and prospects with you and assess the chance of success for each method of claim as described above.
Sexual abuse cases can take anywhere between 6 to 24 months. CICA sexual abuse claims can take around 6 to 12 months from the date of the submission to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. However, There are a number of outside organisations which we must rely upon for providing the evidence to CICA to support your case, such as police and medical agencies.
CICA claims might take longer in some cases. Sometimes in sexual abuse compensation claims, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) may decide to prosecute the assailant. If they do decide to prosecute, then the police report is not normally released until the trial is over. This can delay a compensation offer by a number of months. However, you do not need to wait until the trial is over, meaning you can apply for compensation before the outcome is determined.
For more information or for any advice, please call Criminal Injury Solicitors on 0333 996 9988 or email us on email@example.com.