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

Updated by Max Mitrovich on 10th March 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.

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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.

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.

InjuryRemarksCICA Tariff Amount
Sexual assaultNon-penetrative and over clothing£1,000
Sexual assaultNon-penetrative and under clothing£2,000
Sexual assault – Oral to Genital/ PenetrativeNot including a penis£3,300
Sexual assaults in a frequent, repetitive patternDuration up to 3 years£6,600
Sexual assaults in a frequent, repetitive patternDuration over three years£8,200
Sexual assaults in a frequent, repetitive patternCausing internal injury£22,000
Sexual assaults in a frequent, repetitive patternCausing moderate mental injury£22,000
Sexual assaults in a frequent, repetitive patternCausing severe mental injury£27,000

If you were claiming against the perpetrator of the abuse, your compensation amount would be calculated on a case by case basis. As part of your historic abuse claim, you would need to undergo a medical assessment with an independent professional. They would provide a report which details your injuries and prognosis and this could be used to value your claim. While you might have seen a criminal injury or personal injury calculator online that could give you an approximate figure for compensation, this would only be a very rough guide.

To help you get some idea of the compensation that could be appropriate for your injures, we’ve included a table with figures taken from the Judicial College Guidelines, which is a regularly updated legal publication that could be used by a criminal injury or personal injury lawyer to hone in on a value for your claim.

InjuryNotesCivil Claims Compensation Guidelines
Psychiatric Injury - SevereVery poor prognosis. Severe effects on victim’s ability to have a social life, or cope with education or work.£51,460 - £108,620
Psychiatric Injury – Moderately SevereA more positive prognosis. Significant effects on victim’s ability to have a social life, or cope with education or work.£17,900 - £51,460
Psychiatric Injury - ModerateA more positive prognosis. Moderate effects on victim’s ability to have a social life, or cope with education or work.£5,000 - £17,900
Severe PTSDPermanent harm. Functioning level would not be anywhere near what is was pre-trauma and every aspect of their life would be affected.£56,180 - £94,470

Other Ways Victims Of Abuse Could Be Compensated

In addition to receiving compensation for your physical and mental injuries, you may be able to claim for some financial expenses associated with your claim. These could include:

  • Loss of Earnings – If you had been away from work because you needed to recover from injuries sustained as a result of the abuse, you may have lost wages. You could claim for lost income, but this would differ between CICA claims and those against the abuser or their employer. To claim loss of earnings through the CICA you would need to have been off work for 28 weeks or more. You’d be compensated at Statutory Sick Pay rates. For civil claims, you could receive the total income you’d lost, at your usual pay rate if your claim for historical sexual abuse is successful.
  • Care costs – If your injuries meant that care at home was needed for things like dressing or toileting, costs of care could be claimed for. In a CICA claim, you’d need to prove that your care costs couldn’t be covered for free through the Local Authority, for example.
  • Travel/Medical costs (civil claims) – if you’ve incurred medical or travel expenses that have resulted directly from your injuries, these could be included within your claim.
  • Physical aids or adaptations to the home (CICA claims) – There are more restrictions in CICA claims. You would have to prove that any costs such as these are as a direct result of the injuries you’ve suffered and could not be covered elsewhere like through the local authority, benefits office or NHS.

You must be able to provide evidence of whatever expenses you’re claiming for. If you’re not able to prove the value of the financial losses, you would not receive compensation for them when claiming for historic sexual abuse.

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:

Reporting Historic Sexual Assault or Abuse To The Police

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

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

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