How to claim sexual abuse compensation from an organisation?

Sexual abuse can happen to anyone, anywhere. It does not discriminate against gender, race, age or religion. However, when it happens in a place you are supposed to be protected and safe, it can leave you feeling confused on what happened and who to turn to, especially if it’s been carried out by someone in a position of power.

The majority of institutional sexual abuse seen today is generally historic. There is no set legal definition for historic, it is just something that happened ‘a period of time ago’. With that being said, this specific type of abuse was common between the 1950’s and 1990’s. The issue a lot of victims faced initially, especially between the 50’s and 70’s was that this abuse was very much normalized. Victims were what we now call groomed into believing what was happening to them was acceptable and a normal part of childhood. It was especially common place during this time as specific laws were not in place to protect children.

Sexual abuse happened across the board in many different areas, including, but not limited to;

  • Primary Schools;
  • Secondary Schools;
  • Religious buildings;
  • Children’s homes and orphanages;
  • Hospitals;
  • Foster homes and placements;
  • Youth detention centers and young offenders’ institutes.

It was commonplace in many of these institutes due to the position of power the offender had over the victims, manipulating and often scaring them into submission with threats of calls to parents or to the police if they didn’t ‘behave’.

One of the most well-known cases is the North Wales abuse scandal. Several children’s homes across northern Wales had a £13 million pound investigation launched against them for sexual and physical abuse that occurred between the 1970’s and 1990’s. This case resulted in changes for England and Wales on how authorities dealt with children in care and also saw at least 140 victims paid out compensation. The biggest conviction they had out of this case was the owner of several homes in the Wrexham area, John Allen. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for 33 counts of sexual abuse from the 60’s and 70’s.

Compensation against a public institute can be claimed in two ways.

The first way would be via the CICA, who again do have strict guidelines in place when it comes to being eligible for making a claim. General rule is that your claim needs to be lodged within 2 years of reporting it. Of course, this is never really the case for historic cases as it can take years for victims to come to terms with what happened. The CICA do consider exceptional circumstances when assessing these sorts of claims. This means they will look at potential factors such as your mental health, if the police or courts would not allow a claim to be made while a trial was ongoing or if you were classed as living with the offender. This last point normally applies to children’s homes or prisons. The CICA had a rule in place which meant if you were ‘living’ with the offender before 1979, you could not make a claim. However, this rule was thrown out in 2018 by the Court of Appeal. Although there was a set deadline for these sorts of claims, that has now passed, it is worth still contacting the CICA for them to assess the case. In these cases, a claim is lodged by completing an application form and providing evidence requested by the CICA. It must have been reported to the police, although a conviction is not necessary for this method of claim.

The other way compensation can be claimed against a public institute is to launch a claim directly to the governing body/board for the institute. For example, children’s homes are all overseen and run by the local council. Schools and nurseries are all governed by a board and then overseen by the local school district who are ruled by the department of education. This only applies if the school is public. Please see the following section for private schools. If you were a victim of abuse within an institute and chose to take this method of claim, it is generally necessary that a conviction is brought against the offender. This would of course mean that it would need to have been reported and investigated by the police. It is not always necessary a conviction is needed, but a conviction in criminal law is fact in civil law, meaning it would make it very hard for anyone to argue that the offender did not commit the crimes. In these types of cases, a letter of claim is sent to the governing body making them aware a victim of an offender under their governance/employment is making a claim.

Claiming against a private organization can be slightly more tricky and potentially costly. These sorts of cases are more heavily assessed due to the risks and costs associated with them. Private claims tend to be more common against boarding schools and private hospitals. To claim against a private school, you must first launch a complaint following their complaint procedure. It is mandatory that all schools in England have this procedure in place. The same applies for any private hospitals, they will also have their own complaints procedure in place.

To summarize, the police and local authorities have stepped up in recent years when investigating historic sex abuse cases, as they understand that at the time a lot of abuse was overlooked or simply not dealt with as seriously as it should have been. Please contact us directly if you have been a victim of institutional sexual abuse, regardless of your age, and we can assess your case and provide you with the best advice on what to do.

How long do sexual abuse compensation claims against an organisation take?

Sexual abuse against an organisation 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

Sexual abuse claim against organisation

How much can the CICA award for sexual assault and sexual abuse claims?

Our sexual abuse calculator in the main menu will help you with estimating the potential compensation that may be paid in respect of your sexual abuse claim. However, be aware that figures do vary considerably depending upon the nature (severity) of the abuse, period of suffering and whether any mental harm has been caused. Some common example award payouts are listed below relevant to sexual assault and sexual abuse claims:

  • Molestation above or under clothing: £1,500 – £2,000

  • Non penile penetrative acts: £3,300 – £8,200

  • Penile penetrative assaults single event or over a period (rape assaults): £11,000 – £22,000

  • Two or more isolated acts of non-penile penetrative oral contact: £4,400

  • Up to three years’ repetitive abuse: £6,600

  • Over three years’ abuse: £8,200

  • Single act of non-consensual penetrative sex (rape – vagina, anus or mouth): £11,000

  • Single act of non-consensual penetrative sex involving two or more attackers: £13,500

  • Repeated rape over three years: £16,500 to £22,000

  • Permanent physical and mental disability due to long-term abuse: £33,000 to £44,000

If you suffer from mental illness you can only claim for this element if you have a condition diagnosed by a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist. This is the standard of evidence that the CICA (very unreasonably) require. The following awards are paid for such cases:

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) recovery likely: up to £13,500

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) condition likely to be lifelong: £22,000

  • Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD) – up to £22,000

  • Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD) generally deemed lifelong: £22,000

You can only receive one main award, so you will not be compensated for both the abuse itself and also any mental health condition. You receive the higher award from the two categories.

For more information or for any advice, please call Criminal Injury Solicitors on 0333 996 9988 or email us on You can also request a callback by filling the below callback request form.

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