I was abused by someone who was meant to be in a position of authority, who was meant to be the ‘replacement maternal figure’ that I so desperately craved. Abandoned by my mother aged 2 and a half, my dad met my stepmum, aged six and well… my readers know what happened next. Jealous of my ‘Dad‘ having another child who was not born to her, she played up to the ‘wicked stepmother’ archetype and would physically and emotionally beat me with her vicious words. In her eyes I was a nobody, a nothing and someone who was very much in her power. Because of her I have issues with my perception of body image, because of her I struggle to trust loved ones and because of her I have a constant guard up as I am scared of getting hurt. But today is not about telling my story, no today is about helping many of you readers, who have been affected by abuse and have reached out to me over the years. I want you to know that at the end of a rickety bridge lies a rainbow and that rainbow harnesses the most magical light that you have ever seen.
When I first shared my experiences of abuse, I was gratified by how many of you reached out to me and shared your own stories. It saddened me that so many of you had been victims of domestic violence, rape, physical and emotional abuse and I vowed to continue to raise awareness of a topic that was so close to my heart. But even if you are scared to come forward with your story… don’t be. There are ways that you can escape violent situations and there are resources and outlets that will help you claim compensation for abuse like Cica UK. No matter what you are going through, or how dark the darkness might feel, keep swimming because there is a way out.
How To Claim Compensation If You Were Abused As A Child
Did you know that there were overidentified as needing protection from abuse in the UK in 2016? Or that 1 in 14 adults were recorded as being sexually abused as children according to figures from the Office for National Statistics, with 90 % of sexually abused children being abused by someone they knew? Sadly the statistics don’t surprise me; I was abused by my stepmother, have had friends who have been abused by their Dad’s and in some cases readers have come forward stating they had been abused by their Brothers, Aunty’s and more.But the question is, how can those who were abused as children claim compensation?
This applies to: those currently going through child abuse, adults who were abused as children or children who were abused.
You Should Claim Compensation If…
- It has affected your ability to work, by causing you to have a psychological illness, which equates to a loss of earnings.
- If you need to pay for private counselling or therapy, in order to be able to deal with and overcome your childhood abuse.
- If you are a child who is being abused/and/or know someone who is a minor that is being abused
The forms of Childhood abuse include but are not limited to: Neglect, Emotional Abuse, Sexual Abuse and Physical Abuse.
How To Claim Compensation For Physical Abuse And Violent Crimes
Unfortunately legal aid as we all know is expensive but you shouldn’t let that stop you from ensuring the ‘criminal in question’is punished for their actions. In my case, my abuser was only given community service and a criminal record that prohibited her from working with kids for five years, but if I had reported her abuse now, it is almost guaranteed that she would be behind bars.
There are many ways that you can ‘sue an abuser’ and they include:
- Suing The Abuser through making a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. CICA administers a compensation scheme for injuries caused to victims of violent crime in England, Scotland and Wales. For example if they decide that you are ‘eligible for compensation’, there is a tariff system that works out how much you should be awarded, in accordance to the injuries you have sustained. Please note this applies to victims of domestic violence and other forms of abuse, that is not limited to ‘childhood abuse’. If you are a young person under 18, you can still take someone to court but you need to appoint someone -known as a next friend- who is an adult and can help start this action on your behalf.
- If you have been abused and your abuser has been successfully convicted for a criminal offence involving abuse, the maximum payout they can award you is 5,000, and is dependent on the abusers financial circumstances. This is different to the CICA because you can’t apply for this sort of compensation for yourself .
- If you have been a victim of sexual abuse or assault either as a child or adult you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation. For example CIC has a national helpline 01423 593002 where you can speak to advisers about how to sue your abuser who sexually abused or assaulted you. Although CICA has time constraints i.e. reporting the abuse within two years of it happening or being under the age of 20, a ‘abuse time claim limit calculator’ can help CICA override the time constraints and help you with your case.
The CICA Injury Tarrif System
- £3,500 Fractured Jaw
- £27,000 Loss of an Eye
- £1,500 Loss of a Tooth
- £1,000 Fractured Tibia
- £11,000 Scarring
How Much Does Suing An Abuser Cost?
Unfortunately, companies like CICA cannot pay your legal fees, and there is often a maximum 25 % VAT rate that they charge. However please note that they work on a ‘no win no fee basis’ which means that if they cannot win your case or if your case is deemed unsuccessful, you will not be charged. Depending on the ‘injury tarrif system’, if you have received compensation for scarring (which is worth 11,000, they will charge 25 % of that fee which is 2750, whereas £1,500 for a loss of an eye will mean you would pay CICA £875 out of your compensation.
But How Do I Claim Compensation If I Have Been Emotionally Abused
and claiming compensation is not just limited to physical abuse either: while emotional abuse is harder to quantify than physical abuse-as the scars are not visible-you can still sue your abuser:
- Gather evidence- to demonstrate the physiological impact of the abuse, present evidence of how being abused has affected your life. This might be presenting evidence of seeking help for depression and anxiety- i.e. prescription notes, appointment cards ect and can include -but is not limited to- medical records, evidence of therapy and medication, evidence of ‘physical stress’ like chronic pain, heart disease ect and documents that show missed days at work.
- Finding An Attorney- a word of warning, since ’emotional abuse’ is often classed as ’emotional distress’ in court and thus harder to prove, as it is based on a contingency basis, meaning that they get no money unless their client wins a settlement, it might be harder to find a lawyer willing to take the case. But don’t let that put you off, you might not see ’emotional abuse’ as a form of abuse but it is. And while it is harder to prove, we should always seek action against those who have harmed us or loved ones.
Whether you have been sexually, physically or emotionally abused, have been raped, a victim of domestic violence or emotionally manipulated, remember you are not alone. Despite what your abusers might make you think or how they might make you feel, being abused does not make you worthless. You are a warrior, and regardless of whether you are able to claim compensation or not, just know that you are powerful. Never doubt yourself.
Websites And Resources You Can Access
For Advice On Child Abuse
For Advice On Domestic Violence
For Advice On Rape And Sex Related Crimes
Have You Dealt With Abuse Or Know Someone Who Has?
Please note this is a collaborative post with CICA but all research is my own.