How to make an Abuse Claim | Bolt Burdon Kemp How to make an Abuse Claim | Bolt Burdon Kemp

Find lawyer icon
Find your Lawyer

Free call back
Contact us
Round the clock support
Won't shy away from difficult cases
Committed to swiftly progressing claims
Abuse Claims

How to make an abuse compensation claim

If you’re not sure if you have a case or you need more information, our team of expert solicitors have many years of experience in bringing compensation claims for abuse survivors. We can help determine the best route for a survivor of abuse, assault or neglect to take to secure compensation for the harm they experienced

Contact one of our sexual abuse solicitors, or one of our wider adult abuse and child abuse teams, for a no-obligation chat about how we can help.
Get in touch

How to make an abuse compensation claim

If you’ve experienced abuse, there are different ways you can claim compensation. Here are the key steps involved in applying to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority and making a civil claim.

Make a claim for compensation through the civil claims process

Make a claim through the Criminal Injuries Claims Authority

Civil Claim

A civil claim for damages can be brought against an individual or an organisation based on the harm you have suffered at the hands of an abuser.

Establish key information

When did the abuse happen?

Usually you have 3 years to bring a claim but this can be (and often is) extended – seek legal advice.

Who is the Defendant?

The individual who abused you or the organisation responsible for the abuser.

How much is your Claim for?

Expert evidence will confirm the impact of the abuse on you, to value your claim.

Letter of Claim

If we can establish a case, we’ll contact the Defendant setting out the details and invite them to reply.

Case Settled?


You’ll receive compensation from the Defendant and a contribution towards your legal costs.


Issue court proceedings and prepare your case for trial. Most cases settle before trial.


The parties argue their cases before a Judge, who will decide the outcome.

If you succeed at trial then what?

You’ll receive compensation from the Defendant and a contribution towards your legal costs.


If you are unhappy with the Judge’s decision you can file an appeal (usually within 21 days of the court’s decision)


Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
The CICA is a government funded scheme which pays compensation to people who have suffered violent or sexual crime.

When did the abuse happen?

You must claim within two years of the assault, reporting the abuse to the police or by your 20th birthday (whichever is later).

Did you report to the Police?

You have to report the abuse to the Police and assist with any criminal investigation. There does not have to be a conviction.

Do you live with the perpetrator?

If you lived under the same roof as the perpetrator before 1979 then you could not pursue a CICA claim – this rule has now been abolished.

How do you claim?

Visit their website or call 0300 003 3601. Give them as much information as possible. If your mental health has suffered or you have lost earnings as a result of the abuse, say so.

What happens next?

If your application is successful CICA make you an offer based on their tariff scheme. If you suffered psychiatric injury ensure that the CICA arrange for you to see a psychiatrist.

Not happy with the offer?

You have 56 days to ask for the offer to be reviewed. If there are additional losses, such as lost earnings, you may wish to consult a solicitor. If you do not agree with the Review decision you have 90 days to appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal.

Which should I choose?

Claims through the CICA often result in less compensation than a civil claim because they’re based on fixed tariffs for injuries.

A civil claim for damages is specific to your life’s circumstances, the injuries you have sustained, and the help you need to put your life back on track as far as possible.

However, the CICA provides compensation to survivors in cases when the person who committed the abuse is not in a position to do so. As such, you may consider making an application to the CICA when a civil claim is not possible because the abuser does not have sufficient assets or money to satisfy any judgment made against them; where there is no organisation who is responsible for the abuser’s actions; or if the abuser is no longer alive. Your solicitor will be able to advise you about the best route for you to pursue.

Some of Our Accreditations

See more of our accreditations

We’re here to help you.

Want to talk to one of our experienced lawyers? We can call when it suits you for a no-obligation, strictly confidential chat.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser.

This site (and many others) provides a limited experience on unsupported browsers and not all functionality will work correctly or look its best.