In our latest episode of the HJ Talks About Abuse podcast, Partner Alan Collins and colleague Feleena Grosvenor, discuss the perception that certain abusers are “out of reach” to claim against and aim to clarify the incorrect assumptions that may exist.
Recently, former football coach Barry Bennell was charged with nine offences against two people in relation to non-recent child sexual abuse. This is in addition to the 50 child sexual offences that he was convicted of, that he committed between 1979 and 1991, and was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment for in 2018.
When we noticed this article we thought of the lay person who may be surprised that new charges have been brought even though the allegation is non-recent and he has already been convicted for a number of related crimes.
This is applicable to civil claims. There are misconceptions that if the crime was committed too long ago, or the conviction was secured too long ago, or there was no conviction at all, that you cannot claim. This is untrue. There are case-by-case facts that apply and you may still be able to pursue a case.
Another misconception may be that because the abuser is in prison that you cannot bring a civil claim against them. Again, this is untrue.
We have heard often that survivors do not pursue civil claims because they presume or know the person to be dead. Firstly, the abuser may not be dead, and secondly, if they are but it was within 6 months you may be able to make a claim against the estate.