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Historical abuse compensation claims – FAQs

We know you’ll have lots of questions but don’t worry – it’s our job to worry about the questions and their answers.

It’s why specialist abuse lawyers like us are here. But we know there may be questions you’d rather know the answers to immediately (and in private) so that you have time to consider what course of action you’d like to take. 

So to offer as much as possible, below are some common questions that people often ask us – but if your precise questions is not listed below then our Legal Enquiries Team will be able to work for you and find an answer to what you’re looking for.

What information should I say when I first make contact?

For your first contact we only need your contact details; the name of the person/people who abused you; the nature of the abuse; details of where and when it happened; and police or court reference numbers are always helpful. 

Will I get the chance to meet my lawyer?

Yes. We know how important it is for survivors to feel supported and know exactly who is in their corner. That’s why we are hands-on with our legal support and why we will meet you in person at a time and location most comfortable to you.

If there a time limit on how long I can make a claim? 

Time limits in civil cases in child abuse cases have been changed so it is now easier to bring a claim. The Redress Scheme Scotland is going to be open for a limited time. There are time limits in CICA claims depending on whether the abuse occurred in childhood or adulthood.

What evidence is needed to make an abuse claim?

We know that records can be hard to trace. Our team will in gather all evidence that is available to establish that you were at the location and any records that we believe will support your claim. If there has been a police investigation we will undertake to recover all relevant records from the Police and Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service that can be made available. Not everyone feels able to make a report to the police and we understand this and will advise on what material is available.

What if the person who abused me is dead?

This is relatively common in an abuse case given the historic nature of the claim. Our team will look at your case on its own facts and circumstances before advising you of the prospects of success in a case involving a dead perpetrator- but the crucial thing to remember is that it is still possible to claim in circumstances where the abuser has now died.

What if I don’t have any witnesses to support my case?

Many clients are unable to provide us with witnesses. This forms part of our investigation to determine whether we can identify witnesses who can provide support that the abuse took place but it does not mean you cannot make a claim.

If I make a claim who else will know about it?

We seek anonymity and media reporting restrictions for many of our clients who choose to go to court to keep their identity private.

Do I need to be examined by a doctor?

In civil cases we would require supportive medical evidence but it will always be done with the utmost sensitivity and discretion.

Who else will know about my case?

The solicitors who represent the opponent will require to be told of your identity and any organisation from whom records will be sought will require to know your identity.

I know other survivors who were subjected to the same abuse I was – can we all make a claim together? 


Will I get to stay anonymous?

The court can grant anonymity if we ask for it.

Will I need to go to court?

Only if your case does not settle before the hearing on evidence. However the court can put special measures in place to make giving evidence easier for you – such as talking from behind a screen.

What if my abuser was not convicted?

A conviction is not essential to make a claim. This is because civil claims require a lower burden of proof. This is why so many people are still able to recover compensation even when people have not been convicted of crimes.

I received compensation in the past but I think it was too low – can I make another claim to see if I can get more?

If you received a CICA payment you may be entitled to more through a civil claim or Redress payment.

What if I no longer live in Scotland?

We have clients all over the world and advances in technology mean you can always be kept up to speed on your case regardless of where you live. Meetings can also take place virtually by way of video chats or phone calls.

What if the organisation where I was abused no longer exists?

This can be challenging but is not uncommon and we are used to trying to trace the appropriate legal personality to sue.

Will I need to speak directly to the person or organisation I’m suing?

No. We do everything on your behalf.

Do you offer financial advice after a settlement?

Yes. We can put you in touch with advisors who can advise in relation to setting up a Personal Injury Trust to protect any state benefits you are in receipt of.

How can I make a claim for emotional abuse?

Emotional abuse claims are considered in the same way as other types of claim.

How can I claim if I was the victim of stalking or harassment?
We can assess whether there are prospects of recovery from an individual or whether you would be entitled to compensation from the CICA.

Can I claim if I was the victim of revenge porn?

We can assess whether there are prospects of recovery from an individual.

If I accepted a Redress payment can I still make a claim?

The legislation creating the Scheme will determine whether a claim can still be made even if you have accepted a Redress payment. Seek expert legal advice as soon as possible and ideally prior to making an application to Redress as this will give you comprehensive advice about your options.

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