Sexual abuse compensation

If you’ve suffered sexual abuse by an individual or institution, you deserve justice. For many people, this includes the compensation you may be entitled to. While compensation can’t undo the experience of suffering abuse, it can help you start to move on with your life.

How we can help

Our team of specialist solicitors have helped many people secure sexual abuse compensation. One of our team can offer you a free consultation to give you advice on making a claim. They can meet you at home, in our office, or any location you choose – or we can talk on the phone if you prefer.

Please don’t feel worried or embarrassed discussing your claim with one of us. We’ll deal with your case with great care and attention, and completely confidentially, to help you achieve the justice you deserve.

Our expertise

Partner, Alan Collins, leads our team of experts. Alan has helped many people who’ve suffered abuse with compensation claims and is one of the best-known solicitors in abuse litigation. Alan has acted in many high-profile cases, including the Jimmy Savile and Max Clifford abuse scandals. Alan represents clients in the UK and internationally and has worked on sexual abuse claims all over the world, including in Australia, Uganda, Kenya, and California.

For regular updates follow us on Twitter @abuse_justice

Your Questions Answered

Please scroll down our list of questions relating to sexual abuse to find further information you may find useful.

What counts as sexual abuse?

Sexual abuse includes any form of unwanted touching, as well as name calling or internet contact, or using sex as a way of causing pain or humiliation. It can be a one-off occurrence or carry on over a period of time. It might have happened earlier in your life or still be happening now. If you have suffered sexual abuse, or you suspect someone else is being sexually abused, you should report it to the police, even if it was a long time ago.

Who can I make a claim against?

You can make a claim for sexual abuse compensation against an abuser, but also any organisation, institution or individual that failed in their duty of care to protect you from harm.

How do I make a claim for sexual abuse?

We’ll help you gather the evidence you need to make a claim. To help, you should try to preserve all the evidence as best you can. Photograph injuries, print off internet logs, keep soiled clothing safe in a freezer bag, and keep details of all doctor’s or hospital visits. Get the names and addresses of people who could be witnesses, including people you told about the abuse.

What if there are no witnesses?

The courts know that abuse doesn’t always happen in public, and that there may be no witnesses. In many cases, your description of the sexual abuse may be enough to support a claim, particularly if other cases are reported. If there has been a criminal conviction, this will provide even greater grounds for claiming damages. But even if your abuser has been acquitted of all charges, it does not necessarily mean you can’t claim compensation.

Will I have to go to court?

In England and Wales, you have the right to remain anonymous throughout the prosecution and compensation process. If your case looks like going to court, you’ll still have a chance to reconsider. If you want, we can arrange for you to give evidence by video link. However, it’s worth noting most sexual abuse claims are settled out of court.

Can I claim compensation for sexual abuse caused by a family member or someone I know?

Yes, as long as they have assets or money which you can sue them for.

Can I claim if the abuser is dead or has no money?

Yes, you can still apply for compensation under the government’s criminal injuries compensation scheme. When we advise you initially, we can tell you whether this would be relevant to your case.

Can I claim compensation for abuse that took place in an institution?

Institutions such as hospitals, care homes, schools and the church have a duty of care to make sure you are protected. If you were abused while in the care of an institution, you can make a claim for compensation against the organisation responsible for that institution.

Is there a time limit for making a claim for compensation?

The time limit for making a compensation claim is usually two years from the date the abuse took place. However, as these compensation claims are often sensitive, these times limits can often be extended, especially if there has been a recent police or other investigation. We can advise you on this.

Can I claim for treatment costs?

Yes, the costs of treatment can form part of your compensation claim. We can also advise you about specialist help that might not be available through the NHS.

Can I claim compensation for sexual abuse that took place abroad?

You may be entitled to compensation for sexual abuse that happened outside England or Wales, if:

  • the abuser is in, or from, England or Wales
  • the person who arranged or organised the abuse is in, or from, England or Wales
  • the person or the organisation the abuser worked for lives or is based, in England or Wales.

We’ve represented many clients living abroad and have successfully brought claims for sexual abuse based on the above.

If I suspect someone is being abused, what signs should I look for?

There may be emotional or physical signs. Emotional signs can include a change in appetite, depression, anxiety or avoiding intimacy. Physical signs of sexual abuse might include self-harm, bruising, physical pain, bleeding or even suicide attempts. Of course, these may be signs of something else rather than sexual abuse, and you should try talking to them first.


“This is the painting I drew when you informed us, that we had achieved a settlement.
To me, it meant I could throw the stone that had weighed me down for years into a deep well and leave this part of my life behind me.
It will always be a part of my life and it has made me the woman I am now, but it won’t define who I am – not a victim, but a survivor and therefore a warrior and victor. Thank you for that”.
A satisfied client

The UK Child Sex Abuse People's Tribunal

The UK Child Sex Abuse People’s Tribunal (UKCSAPT)  has been established by survivors of institutional child sexual abuse and their supporters.

The People’s Tribunal is an independent body that emerges from the need of survivors to be heard and in response to their determination to secure government and parliamentary acknowledgment of the extent of institutional child sex abuse in the UK and Crown dependencies.

The People’s Tribunal’s mandate is to examine cases of institutional child sex abuse upon request from individuals or civil society organizations in the context of alleged failings on the part of government and statutory bodies both national and local.

The People’s Tribunal seeks to augment the independent panel Inquiry into child sex abuse, originally set up by the Home Office of the UK Government.

For the People’s Tribunal to succeed it is essential that survivors and witnesses are empowered to give evidence and this will be its guiding principle. Survivors will be supported in this process. It will provide a forum for those who want to give evidence and to do so in an environment to ensure that their voice is heard.

The intention is for the People’s Tribunal panel to sit at various locations across the UK.

The People’s Tribunal process is based on recognised legal principles and requires a rigorous examination of facts and context. Once its work has been concluded, the verdict and resulting report will be delivered to the Home Secretary, other government officials and interested parties.

Hugh James solicitors are pleased to provide advice and support to the People’s Tribunal.

For further information please contact Alan Collins. Alan is a solicitor at law firm Hugh James and specialises in representing victims of child sex abuse.

Jersey - Committee of Inquiry

In 2010 the Jersey’s Chief Minister made a formal apology to all those who suffered abuse in the States’ residential care system, acknowledging that this had failed some children in a serious way.

The Jersey Care Leavers’ Association had campaigned in the wake of Operation Rectangle for there to be a full inquiry to the allegations of physical and sexual abuse at Haut de la Garenne and other institutions in Jersey.

Operation Rectangle reported and recorded a total of 553 alleged offences between September 2007 and December 2010. Of these, 315 were reported as being committed at Haut de la Garenne Children’s Home. Eight people were prosecuted for 145 offences and seven convictions secured. The Police identified 151 named offenders and 192 victims.

In his apology the Chief Minister promised that the Council of Ministers would consider whether there remained any ‘unanswered questions’ that required further investigation by a Committee of Inquiry.

On 2nd March 2011 the States Assembly formally requested the Council of Ministers to establish a Committee of Inquiry to investigate a number of ‘unresolved issues’ in relation to historical abuse in the Island:

(1) What measures were taken to address inappropriate behaviour from staff when it was discovered, and if those measures were insufficient, what other measures should have been taken?
(2) How did those in authority at political and officer level deal with problems that were brought to their attention?
(3) Were there any mechanisms in operation to allow children to report their concerns in safety; and what action was taken if and when concerns were voiced?
(4) Was a consistent and impartial approach taken when deciding on which cases to prosecute; and was the process free from political influence or interference at any level?

The JCLA is an interested party to the Committee of Inquiry and is represented by Alan Collins a lawyer at Hugh James.

The JCLA continues to press for transparency and the rigorous questioning and examination of the evidence to ensure that the victims and their families get the answers to the four questions set out above.

St Helena abuse inquiry

We are examining the legal issues that could arise from the Foreign and Common Wealth Office (FOC) inquiry into sexual abuse allegations on the British controlled island of St Helena’s amid claims of “cover-up”.  The FOC have been accused of lying to the United Nations about endemic child abuse on the remote island to cover up allegations of sexual abuse.

At Hugh James, we have the history and experience of looking after the interests of victims at inquiries and related legal proceedings, for example, Alan Collins – partner represented victims in the Haut de la Garenne (Jersey) child abuse case.

We are now applying our skills and knowledge to issues that the St Helena’s sexual abuse inquiry will bring.

IICSA Inquiry

Hugh James is representing interested parties at the IICSA inquiry.  The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is investigating whether public bodies and other non-state institutions took their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse in England and Wales seriously.

If you want to know more about the IICSA please contact us or go the inquiry’s website.

If you want to be legally represented at the IICSA please contact us in confidence on 0330 111 1866.

Hugh James represents survivors of sexual abuse both nationally and internationally.  We have the knowledge and experience of looking after the interests of victims at inquiries and related legal proceedings, for example, Partner Alan Collins represented victims in the recent Independent Jersey Care Inquiry.

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