At the beginning of the lockdown, in March 2020, the pandemic brought every aspect of our lives to a stop. That included the criminal justice system, which ground to a halt. Although it was one of the first issues to be addressed by the Government, to ensure our justice system continued to function, this relatively short cessation had an immediate impact on the administration of the criminal justice system.
Delay for Victims
Although the courts, the criminal courts, began to hear cases, conducting trials of those charged with a range of offences, those trials had to be conducted under Covid secure conditions. The changes brought about delays, so less cases could be heard by the courts.
The situation deteriorated over the following 12 months. By March 2021, a year after the pandemic began, it was recorded that at least 15 Crown Court trials, some of those involving offences against children, had been delayed until 2023.
It is reported that before the pandemic the backlog of criminal cases awaiting trial in the Crown Court stood at 39,000. A year after the pandemic started, this had risen to 55,000 cases.
It is feared that some criminals are avoiding justice because of the delay. It has been said that victims are dropping cases, as trials are delayed for two years in the underfunded justice system.
Underfunding of the Justice System
Both the criminal justice system (which deals with paedophiles and sexual offenders) and the civil justice system (which deals with compensation claims for the survivors of childhood sexual abuse and sexual assault) have been underfunded for years. The pandemic has highlighted the problem and brought into sharp focus the challenges faced. The Government must invest in our justice system, the bedrock of a democracy.
The Government must work hard to provide sufficient funds to ensure the proper administration of justice, both of the processing of criminals through the criminal justice system, and to ensure that civil cases are dealt with expeditiously, to ensure that survivors of childhood abuse and survivors of sexual assault receive their financial compensation as quickly as possible.
Compensation for Survivors of Sexual Assault and Childhood Sexual Abuse
Thankfully, when I act on behalf of survivors of abuse, in many cases I am able to secure financial compensation without having to go to court. However, there are some cases where it is necessary to fight for the right amount of compensation, in court.
The amount of financial compensation varies in each case, depending upon the individual experiences of the person abused or assaulted and the impact on their life. In some instances, where the assault is a single incident and is of a minor nature, the compensation may be under £10,000. However, in the most serious cases compensation financial compensation can be in excess of £100,000 and in a case that I took to trial on behalf of my client, in 2021, over £1 million.
Survivors of childhood sexual abuse and sexual assault will not lose out, providing, first, the Government invests sufficient funds to ensure offenders are brought to justice quickly and, second, that claims for financial compensation can proceed through the court without delay, to ensure maximum compensation for the survivor, enabling them to continue their rehabilitation and repair their lives.
If you would like an initial free consultation about the prospect of pursuing a successful child abuse or sexual assault compensation claim, please contact us on 0333 323 1638, email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our online form or to speak to a specialist lawyer.