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How to claim criminal injuries compensation for a child

Research from the NSPCC suggests that around half a million children in the UK suffer abuse every year. However, it’s widely acknowledged that child abuse is vastly underreported — minors don’t feel empowered to come forward, are too scared to speak up, or sadly, don’t realise they are being abused. Claiming compensation for a child can be confusing and difficult to navigate, so we have developed a guide to aid you through the process.

The repercussions of suffering abuse in childhood can follow you for a lifetime. While we appreciate no amount of money can undo the damage that’s been done, you deserve to be compensated for what you endured.

Whether you’re making a claim on behalf of a minor or applying for compensation for a criminal injury you suffered during your childhood, we can help. The government established the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), so you can get the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Who are the CICA?

The CICA was set up to provide compensation to innocent victims of violent crimes. Victims who suffered physical or psychological injuries from violent crimes can claim an award through the scheme.

The primary purpose of CICA is to provide you with a pathway to compensation when every other avenue has been exhausted. This may be because your attacker doesn’t have the financial means to make a civil case worthwhile, or they may never have been caught or convicted.

You can receive up to £500,000, depending on the severity of your injuries. The longer-lasting the impact and more significant the disruption they cause to your daily life, the higher the sum you receive.

Image of the Ministry of Justice sign and Crown Prosecution Service sign

Who can make a claim on behalf of a child?

If you have legal responsibility over a child — as a parent, guardian, or in any other legal capacity — then you can make a CICA claim on their behalf.

How does the application process work?

To make a CICA claim, you must have reported the incident to the police. Under usual circumstances, CICA will expect you to make your claim within two years of the incident. However, if you reported the crime to the police before the child turned 18, then CICA state you must file the claim before their 20th birthday. If the crime wasn’t reported to the police until after their 18th birthday, then CICA expects to receive your application within two years of the report being filed, as standard.

The sooner you can make your claim, the better. This is because it’s easier to collect the evidence you’ll need to successfully receive a reward. You will need a record of your physical injuries from a doctor. If you are claiming for psychological injuries, then you need to visit a consultant psychologist or psychiatrist. CICA will not accept evidence from a GP or counsellor.

CICA may accept claims for any form of child abuse, including:

  • physical abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • domestic abuse
  • online abuse/cyber bullying
  • witnessing the death of a loved one
  • grooming
  • a threat of violence
  • psychological injury

In instances of physical or sexual abuse, CICA may waive their two-year limitation period. Psychological injuries endured can understandably make it difficult or impossible to make a claim.

If you are in the midst of a court case concerning the incident, it’s crucial you do not wait for the outcome before filing your CICA application. More often than not, if you are out of the two-year window, then your claim will be rejected.

Image of the inside of a courtroom with a trial ongoing

How does CICA award the compensation?

CICA will deposit any award into an interest-bearing trust and will grant the child access on their 18th birthday.

While you can only make one claim to the scheme, CICA can reopen your case in special circumstances. If you have suffered from mental health problems into adulthood that is directly related to abuse you suffered as a child, then you can request CICA reopen your application. At the time of the award, the scheme could not have anticipated the longevity of your injuries, so you may have been inadequately compensated. Revisiting your case could result in extra compensation.

How can I make a claim to CICA for a child?

To make a CICA claim, you can visit their website and fill in their application. However, due to the complexity of the forms and breadth of evidence needed for a successful claim, we highly recommend consulting a solicitor.

To make a claim on behalf of a child, you need additional evidence proving your relationship with them.

We can help you make a CICA claim on behalf of a child

With incidents around child abuse being so sensitive, upsetting, and emotionally draining, a solicitor can help you to take a great deal of the stress away from the situation. We can help you to gather the evidence you need and fill in the paperwork.

Our team of expert criminal injuries solicitors is ready to help you to make a claim, either for yourself or on behalf of a child.

We offer a no-obligation consultation where we determine if your claim is likely to be successful.

To get started on your application today, fill in our online claim form or call us on 0151 668 0830.

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