Why bring an abuse claim?
Abuse can be extremely difficult and upsetting to speak out about. Survivors of abuse often have feelings of shame, fear and blame, even though it’s never their fault. It can take a huge amount of courage to tell someone what has happened to you – and the prospect of a lengthy claims process could be off-putting.
But, abuse is about power and making the decision to sue the person who abused you can be the first step to taking back that power. You may find that speaking out plays an important role in your recovery process, helping you move forward with courage and confidence. Bringing an abuse claim can also have a wealth of other benefits, as we outline below.
It can help you get justice
Abuse is against the law. The criminal process is often daunting and seeing your abuser lose their liberty based on evidence you or others have given can be a vital step in your healing. However, as in many cases of abuse, an abuser may have come in contact with you through their paid work or voluntary roles. The organisation that allowed this access may need to be held to account for the role they played – including any safeguarding failings – in order to help you secure justice.
It can help you get acknowledgement
Bringing a claim against your abuser is often the only way you can get formal recognition of what happened to you. To have the person or organisation who wronged you openly accept blame, and even apologise, is an important validation that what they did to you was wrong and wasn’t your fault. This acknowledgement of, and accountability for, what happened can be invaluable in helping you move forward.
You could access therapy and support
Abuse can have devastating effects on a person, and survivors often suffer symptoms long after the abuse took place, including psychological issues, problems regulating emotions, trust issues and pain from physical injuries. People who have survived abuse may also experience dependency issues relating to drugs and/or alcohol to help them numb the physical or emotional pain of their trauma.
Whatever you’re dealing with, compensation can allow you to access the professional support you need as you seek help. Whether you’re looking for addiction rehab or emotional support and psychotherapy, these services can have an invaluable positive impact on your recovery and help get your life back on track.
It could help in preventing further abuse
Making a compensation claim for abuse not only gives you the opportunity to be heard, understood and helped, but it could also help protect other vulnerable people. Whether that is through helping to expose a pattern of behaviour or through speaking out about what you have experienced, and others then coming forward. It could also be through exposing institutional failings, sparking outrage and forcing them to effect change, hopefully leading to greater vigilance and better protection for others.
It’s impossible to turn the clock back to before you were abused, but being instrumental in ensuring that others don’t suffer in the same way can be extremely empowering and could help you on your recovery journey.
How is compensation for victims of abuse categorised?
Compensation for abuse is typically awarded in two forms: a lump sum known as general damages and further payments known as special damages. General damages are intended to compensate you for your pain and suffering, and for how much the abuse has affected your life. The amount depends on the type of abuse you suffered and its severity.
Special damages are financial losses and costs you’ve incurred to date that are directly related to your abuse, as well as future losses and costs. These damages are intended to put you in the position you likely would’ve been in if someone hadn’t chosen to abuse you. The types of things you can claim for include:
- Loss of earnings to take in to account the effect of the abuse on your education and career trajectory
- Private medical or therapeutic expenses
- Courses of treatment for addiction
- Psychiatric or counselling support
Some financial losses can be easily valued whilst others are more complicated. For example, children who have been abused tend to have worse educational outcomes, especially if the abuse occurred in an institution that had a duty of care towards them, such as a school or children’s home. Abuse at childhood may have stopped you reaching your full educational potential, hindering your career prospects and future earning potential. This means you may not have the financial stability you would’ve had if you hadn’t been abused. A claim for compensation would aim to give you that stability.
If you have more questions about making a claim, or simply want to have a no obligation chat, contact one of our team. Or, get started by reading some of the cases our large specialist abuse solicitors have won compensation for. Whatever you need, we’ll do what we can to help.