Making a claim for historic abuse, be it physical, mental or sexual, is likely to be one of the hardest things you will ever undertake. However, Thompsons' Survivors Department is experienced, sensitive and dedicated to your utmost respect and privacy.
The questions and answers below may help you understand how we can help you make a claim, but we are here to offer no-obligation initial advice from the outset.
Are support services available?
Yes, Thompsons are the only law firm in Scotland who work in partnership with Scotland’s leading charities who support survivors of physical, mental or sexual abuse. Please contact us and we will put you in touch with one of the charities we work with who will be able to provide support, help and advice to you and your family.
Do I need to provide evidence?
It is likely that we will require to obtain evidence in support of your case, however as our specialist team represent a large number of survivors we have an extensive database of information which may help to support your claim. We will discuss this with you and assist with the process of gathering evidence in support of your claim.
When did the law change to allow survivors to take legal action against their abusers?
The Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Act 2017 was introduced in June 2017. This removed the usual 3 year period within which claims for compensation must be raised relating to personal injuries (including abuse). Survivors were previously able to pursue claims but there was a defence of ‘time bar’ which was often successful and cases were not allowed to proceed on that basis. This time limit has now been lifted. Our specialist lawyers will provide you with further advice on what information is required to help towards a successful outcome.
My abuse was never reported to the police, can I still claim?
You can still pursue a civil claim but if you also wish to apply for compensation to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, you require to have reported the crime to the police. We will be pleased to discuss your options further with you in this respect.
My abuse was over 10/20/30 years ago, can I still make a claim?
Yes. The Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Act 2017 removed the time limits barring survivors from pursuing compensation if the abuse started prior to the survivor turning 18 years of age.
I was abused by a family member can I still make a claim?
It is likely that best route to seek redress and compensation will be by applying for compensation to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). Our specialist team will discuss matters with you ensuring you fully understand the process and help you with your claim for compensation.
My abuser has passed away, can I make a claim?
Yes. This does not prevent you pursuing a claim.
Who will my claim be against?
Every case is different. In many circumstances, the claim will be against the organisation responsible for your care. In some circumstances, the abuse may not be related to care if this is the case our lawyers will discuss this with you in the strictest of confidence and advise if a civil claim can be made.
Can I speak with someone in confidence?
Yes. We will treat your case and information about it in the strictest confidence. We have systems in place to ensure that your information is only shared to those who will also treat it in confidence. Your information will only be shared once we have your instructions to pursue a claim. We will provide you with initial advice before beginning the process of pursuing a claim for compensation. We will also be pleased to provide you with initial advice on an anonymous basis.
Will I need to appear in Court?
This is often a worry for all clients. It is unlikely that you will require to appear in court. The majority of cases settle in advance of any court hearing. The process of raising a court action does not mean that you will require to give evidence in court. Of those cases which are raised in court, the vast majority still settle in advance of a hearing.
We will provide you with advice throughout your case. If your case does proceed to a court hearing, this will be with your authority to do so. This will be your case; we will provide you with advice and we will act on your instructions. If you are unable to provide evidence to a court due to your injuries, this will be taken into account. Civil courts differ to criminal courts. If you have experience of criminal courts, please bear in mind that this case will involve a different court and one which we will assist you in understanding.
Will I need to go public with my abuse?
No. This will be your choice. We will ensure that your privacy is protected and request that, if your case does proceed to court, it is treated on confidential basis and any decision which is made public is anonymised. If you wish your personal details to be known, we will discuss doing so with you.
What are the time limits for making a historic sex abuse claim?
There are no specific time limits but we would urge you to contact us as soon as you feel able to do so as doing so as that may strengthen your case.
How much will it cost to bring a civil claim against my abuser?
Our specialist team will deal with your claim for compensation on a No Win No Fee basis. At Thompsons, we have no hidden charges when we say no win no fee that is exactly what we mean, you don’t need to pay a penny if your claim for compensation is unsuccessful.
How do I start my claim?
You can talk to a member of the Thompsons team by calling 0800 0891 331 or texting CLAIM to 60155. Alternatively, you could fill in a contact form so that we can call you back at a time to suit you – click on the Claim Online button at the top of this page.
All communication is entirely confidential and initially your enquiry can be made anonymously.