As a child our client was used to receiving visits from her extended family members including her elder male cousin during the weekends. However, at 11 years of age she was sexually assaulted by her cousin whilst they were out on a day trip with other family members. Due to our client’s young age, she did not realise or understand that what had happened to her was wrong.
The abuser continued to focus his attention on his young cousin. He gave her the attention she desired and took her out on day trips as a means of grooming her. Further occasions of sexual assault followed. The severity of the assaults increased. However our client , who had developed feelings for the man whom she believed felt the same for her, remained oblivious to the severity of what was happening to her. She believed that their ‘relationship was ‘normal’.
Blinded by her feelings, our client continued to comply with the abuser’s increasing sexual demands. It was once they entered into a sexual relationship that her family became aware of what was happening. Refusing to believe that what had been happening was wrong, she moved out of her family home and went to live with the abuser. They purchased a house together and lived as a couple until she was 21 years of age.
It was following a disagreement with her cousin over the equity in their property that he threatened to release a tape he had recorded of the couple having sex when our client was an underage teenager. Devastated and fearing the consequences of this happening, our client consulted her father who advised her to report the threats to the police. She courageously went to the police and reported the catalogue of abuse she had been subject to, having come to the realisation that this was far from a normal relationship.
Following criminal proceedings, the abuser was convicted of child sex offences and sentenced to a term of imprisonment. He was also placed on the sex offender register for life and made subject of a sexual harm prevention order.
Relieved that the ordeal was over, our client sought to pursue a claim for compensation with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority in order to achieve closure. She contacted IBB’s specialist solicitors for advice on how to do so.
Working closely with our client, we completed an application to the CICA, detailing the details of what had happened.
Eventually we received the CICA’s decision. They had refused to grant our client an award as she had ‘consented’ to sexual intercourse with the defendant. This was a shock and awful decision. Our client did not possess the capacity to consent to sex. She was a child at the time that the reported assaults took place. The CICA had failed to give consideration to the legal position in our client’s case.
Our client was upset and disappointed with the decision. We reassured her that this was one of a number of cases where an award under the scheme was refused due to the victim having provided ‘consent’.
In accordance with our client’s instructions, we carefully drafted comprehensive submissions to the CICA, submitting that as a matter of law, their decision was wrong.
Several months later we received the CICA’s decision. They accepted our submission and made a substantial award to our client. Our client was delighted with this and accepted the offer. She was thankful for the assistance she received from IBB Solicitors.
Compensation payout for sexual abuse in childhood
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