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View profile for Malcolm Underhill
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Victims of sexual assault or childhood sexual abuse can suffer long-term mental health problems, including depression and, in the worst cases suicide. Therefore, is important that once they have felt able to talk about what has happened to them, they receive support over whatever time is necessary to enable them to overcome the impact of the assaults. Making a claim for compensation, against those responsible, to obtain sufficient monies for long-term mental health support, whether counselling or therapy, is often vital.

In the short term, victims can turn to the NHS and mental health charities. However, during the Covid 19 pandemic victims of sexual assault may need additional access to support while we are a lockdown.

Increase in Funding

To address that challenge the government is giving £600,000 to charities, to offer remote based support services, including helplines, to meet the growing demand for mental health support.

The announcement of an additional £600,000 follows on the heels of the government’s announcement of a 50% funding boost for rape support services. However, experience shows that the statutory services and charities find it difficult to meet the demand and, in the majority of cases, are not able to offer mental health support on a long-term basis. Our experience at IBB Solicitors, where we specialise in acting for survivors of child sexual abuse and those who have been sexually assaulted, is that an individual has greater prospects of overcoming the symptoms of sexual attacks if they have access to high-quality mental health services on a long-term basis, to address the impact on all aspects of an individual’s life.

Therefore, whilst the announcement from government of reallocating £600,000 of existing money to helplines, is laudable; on a long-term basis, victims of violent crime and particularly sexual violence, require face-to-face, regular, support from health professionals experienced in supporting survivors of sexual assault. They also deserve full compensation for those responsible for the sexual assault, whether from the individual concerned, or an organisation responsible for the offender.

Mental Health Crisis

The need for additional financial support is brought into focus when by digesting Coroners Statistics published by the Ministry of Justice in May 2020. The Ministry of Justice revealed there were over 4600 suicides in 2019, which illustrates a further increase over the last 12 months, equivalent to 12 people taking their own life each and every day.

With mental health issues being aggravated by Covid 19, these numbers are unlikely to improve over the next year. Therefore, is important that individuals are given full and proper support. Where there is a failing in mental health services the individual, or their family (in the event of suicide) may be entitled to compensation for the systemic failings in supporting the most vulnerable in society.

In the short term it is encouraging to read that more than half a million people have accessed online training, to prevent suicide. The Zero Suicide Alliance reports that over half a million people have completed an online course during the lockdown.

Contact specialist child sexual abuse lawyers today

Contact our no win, no fee child-abuse solicitors now, for advice on how to make a claim for the harm caused by abuse, including online child sexual exploitation, or to simply consider what options and possibilities are available, without any obligation. Call us today on 0333 123 9099, email enquiries@ibbclaims.co.uk or fill in our online form.

The information contained within our Blog Articles is provided as general information only. It does not constitute legal or professional advice or seek to be an exhaustive statement of the law and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. For further details, please see our terms of use policy.