Child Abuse Solicitors
Bolt Burdon Kemp is a national firm covering the whole of England and Wales, and our solicitors will come and see you wherever you are. We act for clients anywhere in the world who have been injured in England and Wales.
At Bolt Burdon Kemp we have a team of highly trained solicitors dedicated to helping survivors of abuse seeking compensation. Representing adults and children often distressed by recounting the traumatic emotional, physical or sexual abuses from their past, our specialist team can act for individuals and group actions, on a national basis. We can also provide advice on using local authority complaints procedures and assist with Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) applications. See our top 9 reasons why you should choose Bolt Burdon Kemp’s child abuse team.
Bolt Burdon Kemp can help with bringing legal action against individual abusers, foster parents, employers, sports or youth clubs, religious or charitable organisations, social services and beyond – the list is extensive.
We are quality approved to undertake legal aid work for child abuse compensation claims by the Legal Aid Agency (LAA). Each of Bolt Burdon Kemp’s expert solicitors holds memberships with the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL), the Law Society’s specialist Personal Injury Panel and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).
Do you have a claim?
There are two main ways to seek compensation: Through the court system or the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). In some cases, you can apply to both.
Child abuse compensation claims through the courts
Civil law cannot punish the abuser, as this is the job of the criminal courts. If compensation is awarded, insurance companies generally pay it. In order for a claim to be successful, we must first prove the abuse has in fact occurred and been the cause of your injuries or psychiatric condition. This may involve interviewing witnesses and examining a large number of documents (such as social services files).
Claims are often defended vigorously and the defendant may try and restrict our access to relevant evidence. This is the reason why such cases can take a year or two to conclude (sometimes longer). If the police have not investigated the abuse, it is your choice whether or not you tell them now. Our specialist solicitors can discuss this with you. Some clear advantages are:
- If the abuser is convicted of a criminal offence, it is easier to obtain compensation as the abuse will already have been proved
- The police have the best access to evidence, which can be used in your claim once criminal proceedings are over.
Each case is different and yours will be assessed free of charge by a specialist solicitor to see if we can help. There are time limits for bringing claims through the courts but we can often work around those even if your case is technically ‘out of time’.
Confidentiality and Child Abuse Claims
Your privacy is of the utmost importance to us. Throughout every stage of the legal process, we keep everything confidential and treat all documents in connection with your case as classified. Other ways we endeavour to protect your privacy include:
- You can choose your preferred method of contact
- We will always ask your permission to contact others about your case, including social services and the police
- We can apply to the court to make your details confidential on court documents in connection with your claim
- We can advise on the operation of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2002 which prohibits journalists printing details which could identify a victim of sexual abuse without their express consent
- In our office, any documents we no longer need relating to your case are treated as ‘sensitive waste’ and destroyed.
The facts that form the basis of your claim will need to be disclosed at some point to the defendant, their insurers, solicitors, court, medical experts and organisations funding your case (such as the Legal Aid Agency).
We are happy to discuss any concerns you may have about confidentiality at any point during the case.
Child abuse compensation claims and the CICA
The CICA (Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority) is a government-funded scheme which processes applications for compensation on behalf of victims of violent and sexual crime.
Compensation from the CICA can be easier to obtain but is often less than you would get in a civil claim for damages. If at a later date you are also successful in a civil claim, normally any payment received from the CICA must be repaid.
We can guide you through the process of claiming compensation through this scheme. This includes review applications and appeals against the decisions of caseworkers.
Normally for a CICA claim to succeed:
- The abuse must have been reported to the police and the applicant must have co-operated with any prosecution which arose as a result
- The application must be made within 2 years of the assault or – if later – 2 years from the date when the abuse was first reported to the police.
These rules can be difficult to apply in cases involving allegations of abuse that happened outside of these timeframes, but not impossible given the right legal support.
How much compensation will you get?
The law can award damages for physical or psychological harm and for financial loss such as lost earnings, medical treatment, therapy, travel expenses, professional care or care from a friend or relative.
The key to any claim is evidence from independent medical experts, usually a psychiatrist in child abuse cases. He or she will interview you and prepare a report detailing the harm inflicted. Such reports enable courts to decide how much compensation you should receive. The amount the court will award will depend on the severity of the abuse, the length of time endured and the psychological problems resulting from it.
In some cases evidence from other medical experts may be required in order to comment on physical injuries the abuse has caused. If your schooling has been affected and you haven’t been able to achieve your potential occupationally, we may need to instruct an educational psychologist. In some cases, loss of earnings can make up the largest part of a claim. We have succeeded in recovering damages for hundreds of thousands of pounds using such evidence.