When the CICA scheme was created by the government, several criteria were put in place in order to set a basis for who was eligible to claim. In this article, we will only going to cover one of the most prominent and important criteria that the CICA have in place.
There are other ways to claims for sexual abuse & sexual assault cases if time limits are passed for someone to claim through CICA scheme. Please get in touch with us for a free consultation to check your available options.
Time Limits For CICA Sexual Abuse & Sexual Assault Cases:
The CICA require all claims to be submitted within two years of the incident suffered or two years from the date incident is reported to the police. Many victims do not know that there is a 2 year time limit to bring a claim for criminal injuries compensation. The CICA also have number of exceptions to their 2 year rule to submit the claim.
If you were an adult at the time of the incident, you should apply with in two years if the incident. CICA can extend this time limit where:
- due to exceptional circumstances an application could not have been made earlier; and
- the evidence provided in support of the application means that it can be determined without further extensive enquiries by a claims officer.
If you wish CICA to consider your application more than two years from the date of the incident you will need to provide evidence that shows why this application could not have been made earlier. You must also be able to provide supporting evidence for your claim that means that the claims officer can make a decision without further extensive enquiries.
Special provision is made in the Scheme if you were under 18 at the time of the incident. Although CICA will consider later applications from you in those circumstances, it is best if you apply as soon as possible. If you are not able to make your own application, your parent or guardian can apply on your behalf. If an application is made close to the time of the incident it will be easier for you to provide evidence that you were injured as the result of a crime of violence.
If the incident or period of abuse was reported to the police before you turned 18, and no-one made a claim on your behalf, you can make a claim to CICA up until the day of your 20th birthday. If the incident or period of abuse took place before you turned 18, but was not reported to the police at the time, you can apply to CICA within two years from you reporting the incident or abuse to the police
However, in either case you must also be able to provide supporting evidence for your claim that means that the claims officer can make a decision without further extensive enquiries.
What are the difference between sexual abuse and sexual assault?
Sexual abuse is repeated incidents that take place over a period of time, by offender(s). Sexual assault is a singular incident that occurs when an offender assaults a victim sexually.
Generally, the time limit for lodging a CICA claim is 2 years from the date incident was reported to the police, or if the victim was a child at the time of incident, they have until their 20th birthday to claim compensation from CICA scheme. However, with this being said, there are a couple of points that the CICA can nitpick at, which without proper explanation and understanding, could be the reason a claim is rejected. With historic sexual abuse and child abuse matters, the time limit is normally 2 years from when the abuse was reported to the police as an adult.
The point to consider is that although the time limit is 2 years from when it was reported to the police, the CICA would expect or ask an explanation as to why the incident was not reported earlier or why a claim wasn’t lodged sooner? This applies if there is a considerable amount of time between the last incident and it being reported to the police. With this in mind, the CICA understand that with certain types of crimes, especially sexual assault and abuse, it takes a lot of courage for a victim to come forward. When going through the CICA process, there are a couple of options you have that you can pick from to explain your reason in delaying, which are listed below:
Possible reasons of delay in submitting your claim:
Minor at The Time of Incident: This option applies when the victim was under 18 at the time the abuse took place. When the victim is a child, it can be very difficult for them to even understand what is going on, never mind report it to the police. When someone is a minor, the CICA allow up to the 20th birthday for the individual to claim. In some case, you might be able to claim even after your 20th birthday but it depends on case to case basis. Please get in touch with us to explore all the other options available.
Medical Reasons: This option applies if the individual has been receiving ongoing treatment for mental injuries. When someone goes through an ordeal that completely changes them, the CICA understand that health comes first. With that being said, the treatment must be administered by a professional (Psychiatrist, Psychologist etc.) and it has to be more or less continuous. If there are any gaps in treatment that are not due to wait times etc. then the CICA would ask the reason for the gaps. This option is also suitable for those who have been sectioned due to their mental health as a direct result of the incident/s, as you would not be expected to lodge a claim while being in a psychiatric institute.
Told by Police to Delay: This option applies to victims who have been advised by the police or CPS to delay applying for the claim or don’t speak with anyone until the outcome of court case. This doesn’t even necessarily apply directly to claiming. Some cases could be jeopardized by even discussing them with a professional. Therefore, in some matters, the police and CPS advise strongly against victims seeking further support until the court case has concluded. Please note that this does not coincide with just waiting until the court case has finished. If you have not been told by the police to delay in discussing the matter with anyone, then this option will not apply. The majority of the time this option applies to more serious crimes, such as Rape, Murder and Sexual abuse.
Awaiting Outcome of Court Case: Following on from the above, this option doesn’t have merits and doesn’t work every time. One of the pro’s about claiming through the CICA is that you do not need to wait until a conviction/charge has been brought against the individual. As long as you have done everything you can to aid the investigation (given a statement, cooperated with the police) then any decisions made by the police/CPS are out of the victims control. Selecting this option could possibly hinder an application as the CICA would question why the victim was waiting for the outcome of the case, when this isn’t required.
Unaware of the Scheme: We tend to think of this option as the trick option. Although it is there for you to select when applying to the CICA, it is very rare that cases are accepted when this option is selected as the explanation as to why there was a delay in claiming. Personally, we think that the CICA is nowhere near as well-known as it should be, and it is unfair that a lot of individuals could be missing out on compensation due to simply not knowing that something like this exists.
Any Other Reason: This option is used as a customizable reason for not claiming sooner. A good example would be if you had to leave the country and have only recently returned or if your case would have previously been hindered by the same roof rule. Other reasons can be provided here at the discretion of the applicant if they feel like their reason doesn’t fit under the above.
When we look at crimes of a sexual nature specifically, the delay in claiming can often be explained in more detail. These types of crimes are more intimate and personal, the victim can often be left feeling confused and ashamed for years, quite often more if the offender was a family member. With these types of crimes specifically it is always best to get in contact and find out whether or not you have a claim, whether it happened 5 years ago or 50 years ago.
Another interesting point to consider is if the abuse was reported as a child, and the police failed to act, you can reporting it again as soon as possible and the CICA would likely view this as an ‘exceptional factor’ in the delay for claiming. Sadly, with historic cases, the police often did not take reports as seriously as they should, and even now cases can be mishandled or failed to be acted upon. As long as the records show that the applicant tried to report it and do everything they could at the time, it is likely the CICA would accept the claim for assessment.
The important thing to remember is that it is always worth getting in touch to find out whether or not you can make a claim. We assess each enquiry on a case by case basis and can advise you based on your specific case factors whether or not we believe you have good grounds to make an application.
For more information or for any advice, please call Criminal Injury Solicitors on 0333 996 9988 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.