Survivors of historic abuse are often unaware that they may have a legal right to compensation from those responsible. An historic claim for sexual or physical abuse can have been suffered at any time from childhood to a few years ago. However long ago the historic abuse occurred, it is important to obtain legal advice from historical abuse solicitors.
Our lawyers understand how difficult it can be to think about your past if it has involved any physical or sexual abuse. We know how challenging it can be to seek legal advice about pursuing historical abuse compensation, but we can offer abuse advice and help people who have suffered sexual or physical abuse to make a legal case and claim.
Our abuse department is one of the most prominent in Yorkshire, with offices in Dewsbury, Wakefield, Leeds, Selby and Penistone. Our specialist lawyers manage all abuse cases with sensitivity and confidentiality, while guiding and supporting you through your claim. We are proud to have represented the interests of abuse survivors for over two decades.
What is historical abuse?
Historical abuse is when an individual was abused at any time under the age of 18. Whether it occurred once or numerous times, or if it was one or 70 years ago, this counts as historical abuse – no matter if it was physical, sexual or psychological. In some abuse cases, you may have only learned or understood what happened recently.
How do I make an historic abuse claim?
To bring a historic abuse claim to court it is necessary to prove that it is possible for a fair trial to proceed.
This is important as the claim will be pursued outside of the usual time period to present a claim. It is not an automatic right to bring a claim, which is why it is vital to obtain legal abuse advice as soon as possible. Any further delay could affect your prospects of being allowed to proceed by the court.
In historic claims for sexual and physical abuse, many victims are worried that there will no longer be any evidence available. For this reason, it is helpful to make a report to the police.
While we understand this can be daunting, it does assist in obtaining the evidence needed to proceed with an historical abuse claim.
The police are there to help you and will be experienced in dealing with historical abuse cases similar to yours. Reporting to the police can also help obtain evidence against your abuser and encourage more people to come forward.
Who can I make an historic abuse claim against?
Historic abuse claims are commonly made against individuals and the same types of institutions. Jordans have successfully claimed thousands of pounds in historical abuse compensation and represented victims of historic abuse in claims against the following bodies:
- Local authorities
- The Catholic Church/Religious institutions
- Individual abusers
- Private schools
- The Scouting Association/Youth groups
- Sports groups
- Military organisations
Locating and speaking to other survivors who have reported abuse at the same institution or by the same individual is also a key part of the investigation stage.
Often abusers targeted more than one victim and in these cases the claims can be pursued as a group action. The more people who disclose similar accounts of abuse, the greater the prospect of persuading a court that the abuse occurred.
The civil claims process can seek compensation but it is not designed to punish the abuser, this is a matter for the criminal courts. If the police do investigate your allegations, we will work in conjunction with them to help whenever possible.
A criminal conviction against your abuser could greatly improve your prospect of recovering historical abuse compensation. It is therefore common to wait for the outcome of the criminal case before progressing a compensation claim.
Historic sexual abuse law
If the abuse you wish to make a historical abuse compensation claim for is of a sexual nature and was committed prior to 1st May 2004, the crime will be dealt with under the Sexual Offences Act 1956. If the abuse you suffered happened after 1st May 2004, the crime will be charged under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
Historic physical and sexual abuse claims can take a long time to conclude and it is not uncommon for them to continue for many years.
How does the historical abuse claim process work?
Your lawyer will begin with an investigation stage to gather evidence in support of your case. This initial work can take many months, depending on the type of evidence we need to gather.
We will often need to access historical documents such as social services records, education records and medical records. It can be harder to obtain these documents if you suffered abuse a long time ago, as they may have been destroyed or misplaced.
At the end of the investigation stage your solicitor will be in a better position to advise on the merits of your historical abuse case and can decide on how to proceed. In our experience, the vast majority of claims settle out of court and we will push for an out of court settlement when it is in your interests to do so.
However, it is important that you are aware when starting a case that you may be required to give evidence in court. Appearing in court can be demanding and stressful but if your case gets this far, your solicitor will be there to prepare and support you every step of the way.
Historic abuse compensation
Historical abuse compensation won’t change what has happened but it can help rebuild lives by funding treatment costs, further education and providing financial security. The amount of historical abuse compensation that is recoverable depends on the extent of the injuries suffered and how it has affected every aspect of your life.
In addition to payment for any injuries, you can also recover money for other financial losses directly related to the abuse, such as lost earnings. Your compensation is not affected by how much time has passed since the abuse was suffered.
As lawyers, our role is to support and guide you through the claims process and offer legal advice. We appreciate that we are not qualified to provide counselling or psychological treatment. Therefore we try to work closely with both local and national charities that can provide additional support throughout the claims process and beyond.
You can talk to one of our male or female specialist abuse lawyers in absolute confidence on 0800 955 5094
Historic abuse claims: FAQs
Could I be entitled to historical abuse compensation?
If you have been the victim of historic physical or sexual abuse you could be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation. The prospects of succeeding with an historical abuse claim can vary greatly depending on certain factors. Because you are pursuing a claim outside the time limits for presenting a case at court, it is necessary to ask the court for permission to proceed. It is therefore important that you seek legal abuse advice from an experienced abuse solicitor as soon as possible, so not to incur any further delay.
Who will my historic abuse claim be against?
Your historical abuse claim will be against the individual who caused the harm, or more commonly against an organisation or employer who is closely connected to the abuser. Your lawyer will be able to advise you on this at an initial interview.
Should I contact the police to pursue a criminal case?
It is important in historic claims for sexual and physical abuse that you make a report to the police as soon as possible. This will assist in obtaining evidence necessary to pursue your claim. A conviction against the abuser will also help in your civil claim. It is likely that your civil claim will be put on hold until the criminal investigation is complete.
How long will my historical abuse claim take?
It is not uncommon for civil claims to take many years – an ongoing police investigation can delay cases. Whether the defendant is prepared to admit responsibility and whether it is necessary to issue court proceedings will also impact how long your case takes to settle.
Will I need to give evidence against my abuser in court?
The vast majority of civil claims for compensation are settled out of court. However, you should be prepared give evidence about the historical abuse in court if necessary. If you do need to attend court, we will fully support you throughout the whole process.
How much compensation will I receive?
You will be able to recover compensation for physical and psychological injuries that have been caused by the abuse. In addition, you may also be entitled to claim historical abuse compensation for loss of earnings or treatment costs, if these can be attributed to the abuse. It does not matter how long ago your injuries were suffered, this does not affect the compensation that you receive.
How much will I be required to pay in legal costs?
We offer a “no win, no fee” agreement, which means that you do not have to pay any legal costs if your claim is unsuccessful. We will advise you on the most appropriate funding option for you at the start of your claim.
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