Case study: JC v CICA

Quantum: Sexual abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, award made not withstanding that criminal prosecution failed and applicant had a chequered work history with little supporting documentation pre and post abuse.

The applicant was born in 1973. After his parents separated his mother moved in with his stepfather and his sons. During the period 1977 to 1990 when the applicant was aged 4 to 17 years he was subjected to severe and protracted sexual assaults by his step father and elder step brother. The assaults included being forced to engage in bestiality. The assaults escalated to rape and became violent. The applicant suffered physical problems. He lacked concentration at school. Due to the nature of the sexual abuse the applicant had no control over his bowels and was taunted and excluded from his peers at school which caused him to frequently truant. The applicant left school at fifteen with no qualifications. The applicant attempted to run away but was apprehended and placed in a children's home for six months where he suffered further abuse. Following his return to the family home he started to self harm and turned to drugs to block out the abuse. He embarked on a series of unsatisfactory relationships. He undertook a number of low paid unskilled jobs which lasted for no longer than a couple of months. At the age of 18 the appellant's drug abuse escalated and he started using heroin. In 1997 the applicant met his wife and settled into a stable family life. He trained as a plumber which he enjoyed and was good at. He built up a thriving plumbing business. In 2007 his wife had a breakdown and disclosed her own childhood abuse. This triggered memories of the applicant's own abuse and he suffered a breakdown which led to his eventual bankruptcy. In 2010 the applicant contacted the police and made a full statement about the abuse he had suffered by his stepfather and stepbrother. The applicant's stepfather was arrested for offences committed against the applicant and other sexual offences. His stepbrother was also arrested but was not charged as he was suffering from schizophrenia who had also been abused by his father. Following a lengthy trial at which the applicant gave evidence the jury were unable to reach a majority verdict in relation to the offences involving the applicant as a result of the jury being reduced from twelve to ten members. Two of the jury members were unable to continue due to the trial content, one of which required counselling. A re-trial was considered, but the applicant could not endure a further trial and his GP felt it would be detrimental to his mental health. The applicant lodged an application with CICA on 23 December 2011 (which fell under the 2008 scheme). The applicant secured an early interim payment. Medical evidence was obtained from Dr Jane O'Neill, Consultant Psychiatrist. Dr Jane O'Neill's view was that the applicant fulfilled the criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder and Harmful Use of Substances. Dr O'Neill recommended two to three years of weekly cognitive behavioural therapy and weekly addiction counselling following which it was hoped that the applicant would return to part time employment. Dr O'Neill's report and a number of other documents were submitted to the CICA including a detailed statement and schedule of loss (prepared on a calculated basis) claiming loss of past and future earnings based on average earnings.

On 22 March 2014 the CICA made a "paper" award for £244,950 as follows

Tariff, band 17 - £22,000 to reflect severe childhood abuse and incorporates a moderate/permanent disabling illness.

Costs of private medical treatment - £18,200. The CICA accepted Dr O'Neill's recommendations that the treatment was necessary to lessen the severity of the applicant's symptoms.
Net future loss of earnings - £204,750 ? The CICA accepted the psychological sequel of the abuse would have some impact on the applicant's future employability and that he was a qualified plumber. An award was made to reflect future losses despite the lack of documentation supporting pre-incident declared earnings.