Nelsons has helped a woman gain compensation for a sexual assault, despite her claim initially being rejected.
Our client was the subject of a serious sexual assault in which she was held against her will for several hours and subjected to physical and sexual abuse including rape.
The client made an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), a government-funded body which provides compensation for victims of criminal violence under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.
Despite the fact that she complied with the CICA’s requirements, including reporting the incident to the police and cooperating with their investigations by undergoing medical examination and giving written and video statements, her claim was initially rejected.
In order to make an award the CICA must establish that the applicant was the victim of a crime of violence and sustained injury directly as a result of the crime of violence. In cases of rape, this can be difficult to establish particularly when the police did not pursue a criminal prosecution.
The client contacted Nelsons for assistance. We agreed to act for her on a no win, no fee basis to appeal the CICA’s decision. We obtained the CICA file, police file, medical and psychologist’s records to review the case.
The police documents included a detailed statement from our client, a report from a medical examiner and photographs. It detailed our client’s injuries, including bruises and bite marks and an internal tear, and also her psychological injuries.
From a physical point of view the client made a full recovery, however she suffered significant psychological symptoms as a result of the assault including nightmares, anxiety and depression.
She avoided going out unless she had somebody to support her and even then was very anxious. This had a profound effect on her life and day to day activities. She saw her GP and was referred for treatment with a psychologist. She attended regular treatment which she found beneficial.
We submitted an appeal to the CICA on our client’s behalf, which proceeded to an appeal hearing at a Tribunal. We argued that the evidence clearly showed that our client was the victim of a sexual assault and had been significantly affected by what happened, as demonstrated by her medical records and psychologist’s report.
Fortunately our client was not required to give evidence, as both the CICA representative and the Tribunal considered that the evidence, documents and photographs were sufficient to show that our client was the victim of a crime of violence and that she was sexually assaulted.
The Tribunal accepted the client’s claim, and returned the case to the CICA for the claim to be accepted and assessed for an award.
Compensation from the CICA scheme is decided by a fixed tariff of compensation. For sexual abuse, the tariff is determined by the type of assault. The CICA does not usually make a separate award for psychological injury arising from the assault, unless the award would be higher than that for the physical injuries, however in this case given the length of time that our client had suffered symptoms and based on the psychologist’s report they agreed she should receive the higher award for the psychological symptoms. The client accordingly received an award from the CICA for her injuries.
Our client was very pleased with the outcome of the case and the success of the appeal, in particular that she was not required to give evidence in person. She felt that this decision has now allowed her to move forward and concentrate on her recovery.
Read more about the personal injury cases that Nelsons have handled by visiting our Personal Injury case studies page.
For advice on pursuing a claim for compensation please contact a member of our Personal Injury team.