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26 October 2018 | Comment |

CICA applications for sexual abuse: why diligence is required

The sad truth is that many CICA applications for sexual abuse compensation are either rejected or under-compensated. The reason why many CICA claims are not successful is that the application form was not filled in correctly.

Sexual abuse survivors are entitled to compensation under CICA rules, but because CICA deems them to be victims of crime, there are a number of hoops to jump through.

Sexual abuse survivors, like other victims of crime, are expected to have cooperated with the police and to have applied for compensation within time limits. Unfortunately many survivors have endured traumatic experiences that make it difficult for them to have done all that was expected of them. This means that  they need to explain their circumstances and history very carefully in their CICA application.

Many survivors have experienced multiple abuses – often physical and sexual. The CICA being tariff based does not, adequately allow for this and often the abuse is treated as a whole resulting in a single award of compensation.

Sometimes an award is made without adequate compensation resulting in an underpayment.

I recently represented a survivor before the CICA appeals body that was trying to obtain compensation for all of the abuse he suffered while in care. He had made a series of applications which had been dismissed because the CICA thought that his original application had covered all of the abuse. This assumption was made because of what had been written on the application and then misunderstood by the CICA. The appeal was successful and the survivor should now receive a further award. It may also mean that the original award will be revised and increased in due course.

The appeal has shown that survivors must take great care when completing CICA applications to ensure that it is clear what they are applying for and why. If a survivor has any questions about their CICA application, they should seek legal advice.

Survivors often do not appreciate and are often not told, that they may have a civil claim for the sexual abuse suffered. This is likely to be far more generous than a CICA claim and making a civil claim does not stop you from also making a CICA claim. Again this is something which should be discussed with a lawyer who specialises in sexual abuse cases.

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