Q&A - I was sexually abused by my stepfather in the 70s. Can I claim compensation for my mental scars through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority?

Q: I am in my early forties now but when I was a child I was sexually abused by my stepfather. Back then I didn’t tell anyone, not even my mother, because he said if I did he’d leave my mother and I would be taken and put in care. When I got older I was too ashamed to tell anyone, but the memories ate away at me and finally this year, after my stepfather died, I sought help.

What I went through affected everything, including my confidence to train and qualify for a decent job. Now I can’t afford to go to university. Is there any way I could get compensation for my mental injuries through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority?

A: Prior to 1979 the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) operated a ‘same roof’ policy which prevented victims of violent and sexual crimes that had taken place in the home from claiming compensation. Despite the rule being abolished in 1979, it took a Supreme Court judgment in 2019 to make CICA recognise the injustice of the policy.

That 2019 ruling resulted in a move that has seen victims of pre 1979 violent and sexual crimes being given until 13th June 2021 to apply retrospectively for CICA compensation. Even those victims who have had previous claims turned down now have a second chance to get compensation. The CICA has also set up a special team of extra support workers to handle the claims process of historic cases, including a dedicated named contact for each applicant so that they don’t have to repeat their traumatic experiences to multiple people.

You should make an appointment to see a solicitor who can support you throughout the claim process. As timing is key you will need to get the ball rolling well in advance of the 13th June 2021 deadline.

Article 11/11/2019

Claire Parfitt

Claire Parfitt

Senior Solicitor

Senior Solicitor within our Civil Litigation team in Wrexham and Oswestry