Advice On Claims If Sexually Abused By Your Stepfather

By Stephen Kane. Last Updated 19th May 2023. If you have experienced sexual abuse by a stepfather, you may be entitled to claim compensation for the physical and mental injuries you’ve suffered because of it.

Sexual abuse by stepfather

Sexual abuse by stepfather

This guide covers when and how you could make a criminal injury claim for stepfather sexual abuse through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). We will also provide examples of the compensation you could be awarded if your claim is successful. We’ll also explain the time limits for making a sexual abuse claim through the CICA and how you could claim with the support of a No Win No Fee solicitor.

If you would like to speak to an advisor about making a sexual abuse claim, then you can contact our team. Our friendly advisors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to help answer your questions and provide free advice.

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Select A Section

  1. Calculate Compensation When Sexually Abused By Your Stepfather
  2. Damages Awarded To Victims Of Sexual Abuse
  3. What Is Sexual Abuse?
  4. What Are The Warning Signs Of Sexual Abuse By A Stepfather?
  5. The Different Types Of Sexual Abuse And Violence
  6. Injuries Resulting From Sexual Abuse
  7. Sexual Offences Under The Law
  8. What Should I Do If I Have Been Sexually Abused By My Stepfather?
  9. How Do I Choose A Litigation Friend To Help Me Claim Compensation?
  10. Reporting Sexual Abuse To The Authorities
  11. Are There Time Limits For Sexual Abuse Claims?
  12. No Win No Fee Claims When Sexually Abused By Your Stepfather
  13. Related Guides And Victim Support Resources

Calculate Compensation When Sexually Abused By Your Stepfather

One thing that you may want to know is how much compensation for victims of sexual abuse is offered. To calculate compensation, there are a lot of different factors to be taken into account. This includes the type of injuries you have sustained, the impact they have had on your quality of life and how long it will take for you to recover.

The amount your claim could be worth may differ depending on the way you claim. Below, we will look at two ways of claiming and how much compensation you could receive in each.

CICA Compensation Amounts

When you make a claim for being sexually abused by your stepfather, you could claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.  You can find their tariff amounts for injuries relating to sexual abuse below. You will be asked to provide medical evidence of your injuries.

For further injuries, you could refer to the CICA tariff 2012 for further guidance on compensation payouts.

Edit
Type of sexual assault Compensation level Guidance notes
Sexual Assault £27,000 Resulting in severe, permanently disabling mental illness
confirmed by psychiatric prognosis
Non-consensual penile penetration of one or more of vagina,
anus or mouth
£33,000 With serious internal injury and moderate mental injury
Non-consensual penile penetration of one or more of vagina,
anus or mouth
£22,000 With internal injuries that are serious
Non-consensual penile penetration of one or more of vagina,
anus or mouth
£22,000 With moderate mental illness
Assaults of a sexual nature – Frequent and repetitive £27,000 With severe mental injury
Sexual assault- Frequent and repetitive £22,000 Resulting in internal injuries
Sexual assault- Frequent and repetitive £22,000 With a mental injury(moderate)
Sexual assault- Frequent and repetitive £6,600 Up to 3 years
Sexual assault- Frequent and repetitive £8,200 Over more than three years
Non-consensual penile penetration of one or more of vagina,
anus or mouth
£11,000 One incident
Non-consensual penile penetration of one or more of vagina,
anus or mouth
£13,500 One incident involving multiple attackers
Non-penile penetrative or oral
genital act(s)
£3,300 One incident
Sexual assaults £1,000 Non-penetrative over clothing acts (minor)
Sexual assaults £2,000 Non-penetrative sexual physical acts under clothing (serious)

Claiming Against Another Liable Party (Civil Claims)

In some cases, you could claim against the perpetrator of abuse or another liable party. You would need to provide medical evidence of your injuries, just as you would in a CICA claim. This is why you will usually be invited to an independent medical assessment as part of your claim.

In civil cases, the resulting medical report could be used alongside a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to help value your claim. We’ve put together a table with figures from the latest edition of the JCG to give you an insight into how much compensation could be appropriate. Keep in mind that the compensation brackets are guidelines and not guarantees, so the actual amount you receive could vary.

Edit
Injury Remarks Approx Amount
Psychiatric Harm Severe £51,460 to £108,620
Psychiatric Harm Moderately Severe £17,900 to £51,460
Psychiatric Harm Moderate £5,000 to £17,900
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Severe £56,180 to £94,470

If you’re unsure whether you should make a claim through the CICA or against your abuser directly, please don’t hesitate to call our team for free legal advice on this matter.

Damages Awarded To Victims Of Sexual Abuse

When it comes to making a claim for sexual abuse by a family member, you can claim for the injuries you have sustained. However, you could also claim for out-of-pocket expenses you may have encountered because of the sexual abuse you have experienced.

This could be anything from medication expenses to loss of earnings. You will need to show that the cost has been incurred directly by your injuries in order to claim.

Below, we have outlined how damages can be awarded. The kinds of things that can be claimed as damages will depend on whether you make a civil claim or a claim through the CICA.

CICA claim damages

When claiming through the CICA, you can claim special expenses on top of the payment you could receive for your injuries. You may be able to claim the following as special expenses:

  • Care costs for care related to bodily functions, supervision and the preparation of food. You must be able to show that care is not provided for free elsewhere and is necessary rather than desirable
  • Damage to a physical aid that you depend on, such as dentures or spectacles
  • Physical aids that cannot be provided by the NHS
  • Loss of income if you were out of work for more than 28 weeks. This would be paid at SSP rates. You will not be compensated for any loss of earnings for the first 28 weeks.

You must provide evidence for anything you want to include in the special expenses of a claim made through the CICA. For instance, if you would like to claim for care costs you will need to provide evidence from your local authority that this cannot be provided to you for free.

Civil claim damages

When making a personal injury claim against your stepfather directly, or another liable party, you may be able to include special damages in your claim. Special damages can include any out-of-pocket expenses that you can prove you’ve incurred as a direct result of your injuries.

Special expenses can include:

  • Care costs
  • Medical costs for prescriptions, medication, or treatment that you can’t get on the NHS
  • Travel expenses, for example, fuel and parking costs for medical appointments or the cost of public transport if your injuries leave you unable to drive.
  • Loss of income

Like with claims through the CICA, it’s important that you provide evidence for the special damages you would like to include in your claim. Things like receipts, invoices and payslips can demonstrate the losses you have incurred and ensure you’re reimbursed for them.

What Is Sexual Abuse?

Sexual abuse by a stepfather is any type of non-consensual or forced sexual act against you by your stepfather. It could include forcing you to take part in sexual activity and might involve contact or non-contact acts. It could be a criminal offence under the Sexual Offences Act 1956 and Indecency with Children Act 1960.

As per the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the following instances count as sexual abuse:

  • Inciting someone to take part in sexual activity (including non-contact and contact abuse)
  • Sexual assault (non-penetrative or penetrative)
  • Rape

Contact abuse refers to an instance whereby the abuser makes physical contact with their victim. Examples include:

  • Making their victim touch someone else
  • Forcing someone to take part in sexual activities
  • Making someone watch pornography
  • Sexual touching any part of their victim’s body, irrespective of whether they are clothed or not

Sexual abuse is not just penetrative. It could include oral sex, kissing, and touching, whether clothed or unclothed.

Non-Contact Abuse

Non-contact abuse refers to an instance whereby the abuser abuses their victim without physically touching them. Examples include:

  • Forcing their victim to take part in sexual conversations or sexual activities via a smartphone or online
  • Making, distributing, or watching child abuse videos or images
  • Forcing their victim to share, view, or make videos or images of a sexual nature
  • Making their victim masturbate
  • Flashing or exposing

If you’ve been the victim of sexual abuse by your stepfather, whether contact or non-contact abuse, you could claim compensation for your injuries. Get in touch with our team today for more information.

What Are The Warning Signs Of Sexual Abuse By A Stepfather?

Below, we will take a look at some of the signs of sexual abuse. We have included some of the signs that a child may be being abused by an adult. However, we have also included some of the signs that you notice in a stepfather that indicates they are committing abuse.

What Are The Signs A Child May Be Suffering Abuse?

  • Changes in the child’s mood that can’t be explained, i.e. feeling angry, irritable or sad
  • Developing an eating problem or changes in eating habits
  • Self-harm
  • Drug or alcohol misuse
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Bed-wetting
  • Having nightmares
  • Soreness, pains, discharge, or bleeding in the anal or genital area
  • Sexual behaviour or language you would not expect from their age group
  • Being frightened of a person or people they know
  • Bruises
  • Avoiding being on their own

Of course, the presence of one or more of these signs does not mean that a child is definitely being sexually abused. There are many reasons that a child could be exhibiting this behaviour. But if a number of these signs are present and there does not seem to be another explanation, it could be a reason to be more vigilant in looking out for abuse.

What Are The Signs A Stepfather Could Be Committing Abuse?

Sometimes the behaviour or demeanour of a parent, for example, a father, or step-parent could raise red flags regarding child abuse. Some of the warning signs to look out for include the following:

  • Offers unconvincing or conflicting explanations regarding the injuries the child has
  • Severely limits the contact the child has with others
  • Uses harsh physical discipline
  • Expects the child to provide them with care and attention and appears jealous when the child gives other family members attention
  • Continually berates or belittles the child and uses negative terms to describe the child
  • Blames the child for their issues
  • Appears unable to recognise the emotional or physical distress the child is experiencing
  • Shows little concern for the child

As with the signs that a child is being sexually abused, the presence of these behaviours does not mean that the parent is definitely sexually abusing a child. However, it could be a reason to watch the dynamic between the stepfather and child more closely in order to identify if any abuse is taking place.

The Different Types Of Sexual Abuse And Violence

There are a number of different types of sexual abuse and violence. Examples could include the following:

  • Possession of child photography
  • Solicitation of minors via the Internet
  • Sexual harassment
  • Any coerced sexual contact
  • Forcible object penetration
  • Forcible sodomy
  • Rape

Injuries Resulting From Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse could result in both physical and emotional injuries, which could both be included in your personal injury claim for sexual abuse compensation.

Can Sexual Abuse Cause Physical Injuries?

Yes, sexual abuse could in soft-tissue injuries. However, some cases can result in fractures and internal damage as well. You could end up pregnant, or contract an STI.

Can Sexual Abuse Cause Trauma And Emotional Injuries?

Yes, sexual abuse can cause mental health problems. Adults who were abused as children can suffer from depression or eating disorders, amongst other things. It can also have a negative impact on the child’s education, relationships, and health.

Sexual Offences Under The Law

When it comes to child sexual abuse, the definition of a child is any person who is under the age of 16. Child sexual abuse involves inciting or forcing a child to take part in any sort of sexual activity, whether or not the child knows what is going on. The incident does not need to incorporate a high level of violence in order to be deemed sexual abuse.

In some cases, an adult may groom a child into believing that their relationship is normal. The child may not realise that what is going on is wrong or illegal. This doesn’t mean that the abuse is any less harmful or wrong.

What Should I Do If I Have Been Sexually Abused By My Stepfather?

If you have been sexually abused by your stepfather, the steps we recommend taking are as follows:

  1. Seek medical care and obtain medical evidence. Even if you don’t feel you have any physical injuries, you may be at risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection
  2. Report the sexual abuse to the police. This is essential in order to make a claim through the CICA
  3. Collect other evidence related to your claim such as medical records and evidence of your injuries
  4. Contact a specialist solicitor. While not a legal requirement, we recommend seeking the services of a solicitor. It may help the claims process run more smoothly.

How Do I Choose A Litigation Friend To Help Me Claim Compensation?

You can appoint a litigation friend to make decisions on your court case if you are a child. This can also be done if the adult who is making the claim does not have the mental capacity to manage their own court case either without or with a solicitor.

There are two ways that a litigation friend can be appointed. Firstly, someone could apply to be a litigation friend. Secondly, the litigation friend could be appointed by the court if someone involved in the case asks for a litigation friend to be appointed.

The litigation friend should be someone with the best interests of the claimant at heart. When a claim is being made through the CICA for a child, the person acting on their behalf must be a parent or someone with parental responsibility.

Reporting Sexual Abuse To The Authorities

You can report being sexually abused by your stepfather in a number of ways. You can report this to the police, and we will provide further guidance on doing so later in the guide. However, to reach the non-emergency line, the number you need is 101.

Alternatively, you can visit the NHS website to find the nearest Sexual Abuse Referral Centre in your area. They can arrange for you to speak to a specially trained officer who will explain the process to you before you report the incident to the police. Another option to consider is speaking with your GP or get in touch with a sexual abuse charity.

Are There Time Limits For Sexual Abuse Claims?

The personal injury claims time limit could differ depending on the circumstances. They will also vary depending on the way you claim.

General personal injury claims 

The time limit for this type of claim is generally three years. However, this can vary depending on the circumstances. For instance, the time limit is suspended if the victim is a child until their 18th birthday. Up until this point, a litigation friend can claim on their behalf. Otherwise, the time limit resumes on their 18th birthday and they have until they turn 21 to claim.

There are other exceptions to this time limit. For more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.

Claims through the CICA after being sexually abused by your stepfather

When claiming through the CICA, you should start a claim as soon as is reasonably practicable. For adults, this is usually two years from the date of the incident. If you can prove that exceptional circumstances preventing you from making a claim earlier, this could be extended.

Children under the age of 18 have 2 years from the date they turn 18 to make a claim through the CICA, provided the incident was reported to the police when they were a minor. If the incident was not reported, they have 2 years from when they report an accident to make a claim.

No Win No Fee Claims When Sexually Abused By Your Stepfather

If you want to make a claim with a solicitor after being sexually abused by your stepfather, you may be worried about the costs associated with legal representation. If so, you may benefit from a solicitor who can represent you on a No Win No Fee basis.

No Win No Fee means that:

  • You won’t be asked to pay your solicitor an upfront cost in order for them to start working on your claim. They also won’t ask you to pay while your claim is ongoing.
  • If your claim isn’t successful, you won’t owe your solicitor any money.
  • In the event that your claim does succeed, a small, legally capped percentage of your compensation will be deducted to cover your solicitor’s costs.

If this is of interest to you, why not get in touch with our team today? If they feel your claim has a good chance of success, they may be able to connect you with a No Win No Fee lawyer from our panel. To contact us, you can:

  • Call 0161 696 9685
  • Complete the contact form and we’ll call you back
  • Use the live chat option to the bottom-right of this screen

Related Guides And Victim Support Resources

Statistics On Child Sexual Abuse – The NSPCC provides statistics regarding child sexual abuse within the United Kingdom.

Support Options For Sexual Abuse – Mind provides resources for those seeking support after suffering sexual abuse.

Preventing Child Sexual Abuse & Keeping Children Safe – This guide from the NSPCC provides information on spotting signs of sexual abuse and how to keep children safe.

How To Claim Compensation For A Soft Tissue Injury – Some people could suffer soft tissue injuries as a consequence of sexual abuse. This guide reveals more about making a claim for a soft tissue injury.

Sexual Abuse At School Claims – If you have suffered sexual abuse as a result of someone at your school, this guide has lots of useful information.

Sexual Abuse By A Family Member – This guide provides further information about making a claim if you have experienced sexual abuse by a family member.

Other Criminal Injury Claim Guides