Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority case study: CICA abuse claim time limits
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We were approached by a woman who had suffered severe sexual abuse when she was a child. The criminal investigation was long running and she quite understandably found the process to be extremely difficult to cope with.
The perpetrator was eventually found guilty of two counts of rape and four counts of sexual assault against her when she was only 10 years old.
Within a couple of days of the criminal trial coming to an end, she applied to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority for compensation. However, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority rejected the woman’s application for compensation on the basis it was made out of time. She was criticised for not acting swiftly enough in applying for compensation, despite doing so soon immediately after the conclusion of the criminal trial. This was because, through no fault of her own, it had taken more than two years for the criminal investigation to reach its conclusion.
After all she had been through, the decision of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority was extremely upsetting for our client. She therefore approached our specialist team of abuse lawyers for legal guidance.
CICA abuse lawyer, Rachel Thain, felt she would be able to assist and agreed to take her case on, offering to work on a No Win, No Fee basis.
Time was clearly an important issue and there are very strict deadlines which must be complied with. However, although Rachel informed the CICA that we had been appointed the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority refused to allow additional time for the required evidence to be gathered.
Despite the extremely short timescales, Rachel was nevertheless able to obtain medical evidence to explain why our client had been unable to submit an application sooner. We used this to persuade the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority that exceptional circumstances applied in our client’s case due to her mental health difficulties following her report of the abuse to the Police. The CICA accepted the evidence and agreed to extend the time limit for making a compensation claim.
As a result our client’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority claim was successful and she was awarded compensation of £16,500.