How long do I have to make a CICA claim?
If you think you’re entitled to make a claim with the CICA, generally we advise that you don’t wait for the outcome of a criminal case or any court hearing before making an application.
In the majority of cases, applications to the CICA must be received within two years of the date when the incident occurred.
If you wait for the outcome of a court hearing or police investigation and then apply, you could end up running out of time.
Knowing when to apply is a critical decision and we would recommend discussing it with a solicitor as soon as you can.
Does the two-year time limit apply to under-18s?
If you were under 18 when the incident took place, you have two years from the day of your 18th birthday to make a claim.
However, you don’t need to wait until you turn 18 to pursue a case. The sooner you do, the easier it is for the CICA to investigate and decide whether you can be awarded compensation.
Does the two-year limit apply to historic sexual abuse?
If you’re a survivor of historic sexual abuse which has not previously been reported, the CICA time limit begins from the day you make the police aware of it.
We have successfully secured compensation for people who were abused back in the 1960s and 70s, but who have only just reported it to the police.
Unfortunately, we’ve also had to tell victims who suffered abuse five years ago that they cannot pursue a case with the CICA because they failed to lodge a claim after reporting the crime to the police three years ago.
Don’t wait to seek the justice you deserve. The sooner you make your CICA application, the better.
Should I wait to apply if the Police told me to?
Although it may feel ‘right’ to wait for the outcome of a court hearing or criminal case, and you may even be asked to do this by police forces, you may actually hinder yourself by waiting.
If you have been advised by the police to wait then we would ask you to contact us to discuss further (Legally, there is no reason to wait – the CICA do not deal with cases any quicker because of a successful conviction and it does not have any impact on ongoing criminal investigations I would probably take this out).
If you wait for the criminal legal process to be complete and it takes more than two years (which can often happen), you could miss out on the compensation you deserve because the time limit for claiming has passed.
The CICA does not always accept waiting for the outcome of a criminal hearing as a valid reason for a delay – and may reject your claim.
Can I claim without reporting the incident to the police?
No. You MUST report the crime which has been committed against you to the police before pursuing a claim with the CICA.
You have up to two years from the date the incident is reported to the police to lodge your claim with the CICA. At this point, we would strongly recommend seeking expert legal advice about the best way to do this.
Can I claim if my attacker was not convicted?
Yes. You may still be awarded compensation whether your assailant was successfully convicted or not.
To be eligible for a CICA award, sufficient evidence must be provided that you have been a ‘blameless victim’ of crime.
We have secured compensation for people despite a jury in criminal court finding their alleged attacker not guilty of the charges they have faced. This is because the criminal justice system in our country requires a jury to be certain ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ when they find somebody guilty of a crime.
For claims relating to criminal injures, it may be considered that there was not enough evidence to secure a conviction against the accused, but that there is enough detailed evidence from a police investigation to suggest crimes have taken place, and suffering caused as a result.
Can I still claim if my attacker is dead?
Even if your attacker or abuser is no longer alive, you can still make an application to the CICA for abuse you suffered at their hands.
If the CICA accept your police statement and allegations, and you do not suffer from any medical condition as a result of the abuse, a settlement may be made surprisingly quickly. This is because there will be no need to wait for a court case or any medical notes.
Cases requiring medical reports for any psychological injuries can take longer, but result in substantially higher damages awards.
Are there any reasons to delay a claim?
It may be unfair, but the current CICA rules do not let you make a successful claim if you currently have a previous criminal conviction.
However, once a conviction is ‘spent’ you will be able to pursue a claim. If this applies to you, seek advice from a specialist solicitor as they will be able to work out whether delaying making a claim is advantageous.
Can I lodge an application today?
If you’re worried about applying for compensation in time, we can help you submit a claim today – even if you lack all the information which is usually required by the CICA. However, you must have reported the incident to the police to do this.
I have a life-limiting illness – can I fast-track a claim?
It is sometimes possible to fast-track claims so that victims see that justice is done, and compensation paid, before they die. If this scenario applies to you, seek professional advice immediately as the CICA are not legally obliged to pay compensation if a victim dies.
How long do CICA claims take to resolve?
Most CICA claims are resolved and settled within 12 months, but complex cases can take longer. The CICA aim to deal with some cases of sexual assault within 8 weeks. No matter how much legal work is required, we will support you every step of the way.