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Victims of childhood sexual abuse are more likely to report the incidents in their 40’s and 50’s

It seems that more and more victims of childhood sexual abuse are coming forward with the latest revelation coming from the football world.


Ex footballer Andy Woodward recently waived his anonymity to bravely talk about the sexual abuse he suffered in the 1980’s at the hands of his coach, who at the time, had a reputation for being an outstanding coach and talent spotter in the sport.

Revealing that he had been targeted from the age of 11 and suffered hundreds of rapes over a period of several years, the Football Association has since reacted by setting up a helpline for further potential victims.

Historic sexual abuse has been increasingly out in the open following high profile cases where the extent of the abuse has involved hundreds of victims over several decades – the Jimmy Savile case arguably being the most prominent and extensive.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was launched in 2014 but has been marred with problems including senior figures involved with the investigation quitting, reportedly due to issues such as the lack of manageable parameters for the investigation.

The Office of National Statistics published an Abuse During Childhood report in August 2016 including questions relating to abuse in its Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW).

Surveying adults aged between 16 – 59 about any incidents of childhood abuse ranging from psychological and physical abuse to sexual abuse and assault, the report found that the proportion of adults subjected to sexual abuse, was higher in those aged in their 40’s and 50’s.

The report has not identified the reason for this but considers that this may be down to either decreasing incidents during recent decades or victims feeling more able to report incidents once significant time had passed.

Thirty per cent of those who said that they had suffered sexual abuse indicated that the perpetrator was either a friend or an acquaintance and 66% suffered the abuse for up to three years.

The report found that 83% of men and 72% of women did not tell anyone about what they were going through at the time of the abuse and when they did tell someone, 23% told someone they knew personally while 18% told a relative or family member.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, the vast majority – 86% – said that the associated embarrassment, humiliation and doubts of being believed were the main reasons for not telling anyone about their sexual abuse.

For those who have suffered abuse as a child, the damage, both physical and emotional, can sadly last a lifetime. The full implications of the abuse may not be realised by the individual until well into adulthood.

One coping mechanism, and natural and common response, is to block the abuse out altogether until the victim feels ready and able to address what happened to them and the impact this has had on their lives.

Compensation is available via CICA

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is overseen by the Ministry of Justice and provides compensation for those who have suffered injury as a result of criminal acts including sexual abuse.

Billions of pounds have been paid out through the scheme since its inception in 1964. For those who wish to make a claim, the criteria to be eligible includes reporting the crime to the police and fully co-operating with their investigations.

There is a time limit to make a claim of two years from the date of the criminal incident, however, for victims of historic sexual abuse, CICA has the discretion to waive this two year rule.

For all those who find themselves able to both report what happened to them, and to pursue justice for their pain and suffering, sadly many, many more will continue to suffer in silence. As more prominent figures come forward to tell their harrowing tales, we hope that more victims are empowered to do the same.

If you have been a victim of childhood sexual abuse and feel ready to report the incident(s), and to seek justice, our personal injury specialists are ready to listen empathically and to advise on whether you would be eligible to make a claim for compensation.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) receives 40,000 applications a year paying up to £200 million in compensation annually. For more information about CICA click here

Our personal injury lawyers will always advise what is best for you if you have been a victim of childhood sexual abuse. Call Us on 0800 042 0700 or email a summary of your claim, with your contact details, to

What can you do if you have been let down by a personal injury solicitor or claims management company?

If you have been let down through inadequate or improper conduct from a personal injury solicitor or claims management company and have lost out financially as a result, you may be entitled to make a professional negligence claim. Here’s a guide with more information on how to do this.

Read our ‘guide to professional negligence claims for personal injury victims’
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