How To Report Historical Sexual Abuse – A Guide To Reporting Sexual Abuse From Years Ago

By Danielle Nicholson. Last Updated 22nd September 2022. If you’re looking into reporting historical sexual abuse, you may have been the victim of sexual assault or abuse that occurred many years ago. Did you not report it at the time because you were struggling to come to terms with what had happened to you? Or were you too traumatised to talk about it openly? If so, you may be wondering whether you would be able to report it now and whether you could claim compensation for the mental and physical trauma you’ve sustained due to the abuse.

This guide provides information about how to report historical abuse and offers useful information about the process of reporting sexual abuse from years ago, as well as claiming compensation for historic sex abuse cases. We hope you find the information contained in this guide useful, but if you have further questions you can call our knowledgeable advisors on 0161 696 9685.

If you’re wanting to see if you can claim for historical child abuse but would prefer not to speak on the phone, you can also contact us through our website or send us your query using the Live Chat window now on your screen.

Select A Section

A Guide On How To Report Historical Sexual Abuse

How to report historical sexual abuse

How to report historical sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is a crime, and whether it has happened to you recently or some time ago, you should report it in order for the perpetrator to be brought to justice for what they have done. However, some victims of sexual abuse are not able to process what has happened to them for some time, which could lead them not to report it until much later, if at all. If you do report historic sexual abuse to the police, in addition to bringing the abuser to justice, you may then be able to claim compensation for mental and physical injuries caused by the abuse.

This guide offers insight into how to report historical sexual abuse. In the sections below you will find information about how to go about reporting sexual abuse from years ago, the support you can get, and how you could make a historic sex abuse claim for compensation. We also provide links to websites that could help you get the support you need if you’ve been the victim of historical abuse.

There are two different ways you can go about making historic sexual abuse claims. In some cases, you may be able to claim historic sex abuse compensation directly from the abuser, or their employer. In other cases, you might be able to claim compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). We include information about making both types of claims below, but we should mention here that the time limit for claiming compensation for your injuries would differ depending on who you were claiming against.

If you were making a claim through the CICA, you would have 2 years from the date you reported the abuse. If you were making a claim against the perpetrator or their employer, the time limit would usually be 3 years from the date the incident was reported, which is the same time limit for many personal injury claims.

Time limits

There is a time limit to making a historic abuse personal injury claim, however, the time limit can be extended depending on the circumstances of the claim.

Factors such as the age of the claimant when the assault took place and the date the crime was first reported to the police can see a time limit extended beyond the usual three years. In both situations, either your age might be taken into account or the fact that reporting sexual assault years later to the police is not uncommon. Your three-year time limit to make a claim could begin on the date you first reported it to the police.

Time limits in historic abuse claims can vary, so we would ask you to speak with one of our advisors to discuss eligibility to make a claim and whether there might be exceptions made in your claim.

Calculating Compensation For Historical Sexual Abuse

The compensation you could receive for a historic sex abuse claim could depend on which type of claim you were making. The CICA has a tariff for such injuries. We have included a table below which shows some of the injuries you could claim for and the amounts you could receive for such injuries. It is important to keep in mind that with CICA claims, the amount for the most serious injury you sustained would be paid out at 100% of the tariff value, with subsequent injuries being paid out at 30% then 15% as they are added to your claim.

Injury Remarks CICA Tariff Amount
Sexual assault Non-penetrative and over clothing £1,000
Sexual assault Non-penetrative and under clothing £2,000
Sexual assault – Oral to Genital/ Penetrative Not including a penis £3,300
Sexual assaults in a frequent, repetitive pattern Duration up to 3 years £6,600
Sexual assaults in a frequent, repetitive pattern Duration over three years £8,200
Sexual assaults in a frequent, repetitive pattern Causing internal injury £22,000
Sexual assaults in a frequent, repetitive pattern Causing moderate mental injury £22,000
Sexual assaults in a frequent, repetitive pattern Causing severe mental injury £27,000

Historical Sexual Assault – Injury Compensation Calculator

Claims made through the CICA scheme will be compensated in line with their provided tariff. Personal injury claims are different. They can either be made directly against the perpetrator (if they are identified and have the funds to compensate you) or against the organisation found liable for the assault you suffered and their insurance. The settlements in personal injury claims are not fixed and can be negotiated.

To give you examples of potential compensation in personal injury claims we have included a table of the sexual assault and psychological injuries listed in the 16th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines. The publication creates compensation brackets for injuries by looking at figures reached in previous court settlements.

Injury Notes Civil Claims Compensation Guidelines
Severe Sexual Abuse For cases of severe abuse leaving psychiatric injuries preventing work or social function £45,000 to £120,000
Moderate Sexual Abuse Injuries similar to above but with less severe psychiatric effects £20,570 to £45,000
Less Severe Sexual Abuse Short lived abuse, with a good outlook for psychological recovery £9,730 to £20,570
Psychiatric Injury – Severe Very poor prognosis. Severe effects on victim’s ability to have a social life, or cope with education or work. £54,830 to £115,730
Psychiatric Injury – Moderately Severe A more positive prognosis. Significant effects on victim’s ability to have a social life, or cope with education or work. £19,070 to £54,830
Psychiatric Injury – Moderate A more positive prognosis. Moderate effects on victim’s ability to have a social life, or cope with education or work. £5,860 to £19,070
Severe PTSD Permanent harm. Functioning level would not be anywhere near what is was pre-trauma and every aspect of their life would be affected. £59,860 to £100,670
Moderately Severe PTSD Significant harm. Issues as above but with a better outlook for recovery after receiving professional help £23,150 to £59,860

Compensation For Historical Sexual Abuse – What Else Can You Claim For?

Regardless of whether you are claiming through the CICA for historical sexual abuse or making a personal injury claim directly against the perpetrator or other liable party, such as a school, you may be able to claim for additional expenses. Evidence will be required, such as receipts or payslips.

When making a CICA claim, you will need a crime reference number. The police should supply you with this when making a historical sexual assault report. As part of your CICA claim, you could recover some related costs or losses under special expenses. You will need to prove that all the expenses you are trying to claim for were necessary and occurred as a direct result of your injury. A criminal injury solicitor could advise you on this.

As part of a claim for historical sexual abuse directly against the perpetrator or other liable party, you could recover additional costs incurred due to your injuries under special damages. This could include:

  • Loss of earnings
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Medical expenses, such as therapy costs

Talk to our team for further information on sexual abuse compensation claims and what costs you could recover.

What Is Historic Sexual Abuse?

Before we start to explain how to report historical sexual abuse, we should first answer the question, “what is historic sex abuse?”

Simply put, historical cases of sexual abuse are incidents that happened some time ago. It could involve non-contact or contact acts that could constitute offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Types Of Historical Abuse

Historical abuse could include:

  • Penetrative assault (without a penis)
  • Rape
  • Causing non-consensual sexual activity
  • Sexual assaults
  • Child sex offences
  • Inducements of people with mental disorders
  • Offences towards people with mental disorders
  • Indecent photography associated with children
  • Child sexual exploitation

A victim of historic sexual abuse might not know how to report historical abuse at the time it occurred due to the trauma that resulted from the abuse. If they recover from the trauma to the extent that they feel able to report it, the police could then begin a historic sex abuse inquiry and attempt to bring the perpetrator to justice.

It may be useful for us to mention that there does not necessarily have to have been a conviction for a victim to claim compensation for such abuse, but the victim must have reported it to the police at some point for them to be able to claim.

Reporting historical abuse to the police is important because, when claiming through the CICA, they need a police crime reference number as part of the claims process. 

What Injuries Could Be Caused By Historic Sexual Assault? 

Historic sexual assault can cause many different types of injuries based on how the incident occurred and the frequency you experienced such abuse. Examples of potential injuries include:

Advice On Reporting Historical Abuse To The Police

  • If you wish to claim historic abuse compensation through the CICA in a sexual abuse claim, you need to meet certain criteria. This includes:
    • Making a police report: Reporting historical abuse to police is crucial as, without a crime reference number, you cannot claim through the CICA. No matter when you reported the crime, whether it was last month or two decades ago, your reference number is always valid.
    • Co-operating with police: You must demonstrate full cooperation with the police when they are investigating your incident. Under paragraph 23 of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, you must do what is reasonably practicable to help the police bring your attacker to justice.
    • Making your claim within the time limit: You are likely unable to pursue historical abuse compensation if you do not submit your claim within two years of informing police about the incident or within 2 years of the incident occurring. However, in exceptional circumstances, you could be able to claim past this time limit.

    If you’d like to know how to report historical abuse in the UK to the police, you can do so in a few different ways:

    • By visiting a police station
    • By calling 101
    • Reporting it online

    If you are unsure if you are eligible to claim historic abuse compensation, you can speak to our advisors at any time for free legal advice.

How And Where Do You Report Sexual Abuse Which Happened Years Ago?

If you are wondering how to report historical abuse without involving the police, you could speak to:

  • A therapist – they do not have a legal duty to report historical abuse but could help you come to terms with it
  • Victim Support
  • The NSPCC – if you were abused as a child

What Happens After You Report Historical Sexual Abuse?

Now you know how to report historical sexual abuse, let’s look at what happens next:

Giving Your Statement To The Police

You’d give the first statement to the police when you are reporting it, which would be called a first account. Then, you would be required to give a further statement which could be written or could be taken via video interview.

The Police Investigation

Once your statement has been given, the police would attempt to find the perpetrator. They would work to gather evidence and then see if there was enough to ask the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) to prosecute. If your case goes to court, you would have the right to remain anonymous, which means the media cannot identify you if they report on the case. Whether the abuser is convicted or not, you could still claim compensation for your injuries.

Help And Support You Might Be Provided With

You will be supported by specialist officers throughout the process. They would be able to refer you to support services if you need them. Independent Sexual Violence Advisor Services could also help you. There are further support resources at the end of this guide too.

To learn more about claiming for historical child abuse, please contact our team of advisors for free legal advice using the contact details above.

Should I Report Historic Sexual Abuse That I Have Previously Reported?

If you are reporting sexual abuse from years ago, you might have already made a report but received an unsatisfactory conclusion, and you might feel that you were not taken seriously enough. If this is the case, you are entitled to either make a complaint to the police or report the historical sexual abuse to them again if you want to see the perpetrator brought to justice.

No Win No Fee Historical Sexual Abuse Claims

It could be possible for you to make a claim with a specialist criminal injury or personal injury solicitor without having to pay them upfront. You may be able to make a No Win No Fee claim by signing a document called a Conditional Fee Agreement, which would agree to give your lawyer a small, legally capped success fee if they were able to negotiate a compensation payout for you. If you don’t receive compensation, you wouldn’t have to pay them the aforementioned success fee, nor would you have to cover their costs incurred as a result of pursuing your claim.

If you’d like to know more about No Win No Fee claims, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about any aspect of making a historic sexual abuse claim.

Claim Compensation For Historic Sexual Assault

Now you know how to report historical sexual abuse, you may be looking for case-specific advice. You can get this for free if you get in touch with us here at Our friendly team can be reached:

Help And Support For Victims Of Sexual Abuse

Sexual Assault And Rape Support – Victim support offers assistance to those who have been sexually assaulted, raped or abused.

NSPCC – What is historic sex abuse involving children? You can find a definition here as well as some support if you have experienced this.

Police Support – This page from the Metropolitan Police gives information about what support is available for victims.

Sexual Abuse Claims – You can find more advice about making abuse claims here.

Assault Claims – Have you been assaulted? If so, this guide may be of interest to you.

Rape Victim Compensation – If you have been raped, you might find the information here useful.

Other Useful Compensation Guides

Other Criminal Injury Claim Guides

To learn more about claiming for historic sexual assault or abuse, please contact our team for free legal advice using the above details. 

Guide by OS

Edited by DEG