Claiming Compensation for Sexual Abuse at School
If your child has confided in you that he or she has been sexually abused by a teacher – or another person in a position of authority – this article will help you to understand the obstacles that you and your child may have to overcome in order to successfully make school sexual abuse compensation claims.
When you make a claim for sexual abuse by a teacher, the process normally involves the Gardaí, Tusla (formally the HSE´s Child and Family Unit) and a review of your case by the Director of Public Prosecutions. This can be both evasive to your family life and emotionally disturbing for both you and your child.
Furthermore, in order to receive an adequate settlement of compensation for sexual abuse at school, the perpetrator must have assets against which to make a claim. As he or she will likely be serving a prison sentence, those assets may be limited. Consequently, you may go through the entire process of making school sexual abuse compensation claims to find the final outcome is a minimal compensation payment from the Department of Justice and Equality´s criminal injuries compensation scheme.
Establishing a Claim for Sexual Abuse by a Teacher
In order to qualify for compensation for sexual abuse by a teacher, three factors must exist – that the perpetrator has been found guilty of sexual assault in a criminal court, that your son or daughter has suffered a quantifiable injury and that there are assets against which to make school sexual abuse compensation claims.
Usually the process begins by making a complaint to the Gardaí. The Gardaí are legally obliged to inform Tusla under the “Children First National Guidance” of 2011, and while Tusla are conducting their own investigations, the Gardaí will compile a “Book of Evidence” to give to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The Director of Prosecutions then decides whether criminal proceedings should be brought against the perpetrator. If the case is heard in court, it will be necessary for you and your child to provide evidence on behalf of the prosecution – even if the teacher accused of sexually abusing your child has admitted the charges brought against them.
Quantifying the Extent of an Injury
Once the perpetrator has been convicted of sexually abusing your child, the next stage in the process of making a claim for sexual abuse by a teacher is to determine the extent of the injury suffered by your child in order to calculate how much compensation for sexual abuse at school he or she is entitled to.
This will involve a review of your child´s medical records to identify any illnesses that may not have had a rational explanation at the time and – if penetration has been a factor in the sexual abuse – a physical examination of your son or daughter.
It is more likely to be the case that your child has been psychologically injured, and a psychologist will be engaged to examine your child to detect behavioural difficulties or other symptoms of sexual abuse. Again, this might be emotionally disturbing for both you and your child, but it is a necessary step to quantify the extent of your child´s injury and support your claim for sexual abuse by a teacher.
Making School Sexual Abuse Compensation Claims
Although going through the criminal procedure is uncomfortable, it is necessary for school sexual abuse compensation claims to be successful. If anybody in a position of authority was to hear of alleged sexual abuse (including a judge in a civil court case) they have a legal obligation to inform Tulsa, who will undoubtedly (and justifiably) involve the Gardaí.
Once a criminal conviction for sexual abuse is forthcoming, your child´s claim for sexual abuse by a teacher is almost certain to be successful – providing that the perpetrator has sufficient assets against which to claim compensation for sexual abuse at school. This is one of the first things that your solicitor will check and, if sufficient assets exist, your solicitor will seek to have you appointed as a “next friend” to represent your child in court.
Civil proceedings are much different from criminal proceedings and, with a breach in the teacher´s “duty of care” already established, it is unlikely that your child´s compensation claim for sexual abuse by a teacher will as be as difficult. A settlement of compensation for sexual abuse at school will be made by the judge based on the medical reports that have been compiled and held in trust until your son or daughter becomes a legal adult.
If there are no assets or limited assets against which to make school sexual abuse compensation claims, your solicitor will apply to the Department of Justice and Equality´s criminal injuries compensation scheme to recover compensation for sexual abuse in school. Again any settlement of compensation will be held in trust, but you will be able to access the funds if your child has medical or educational requirements.
Speak with us about Compensation for Sexual Abuse at School
If you would like to talk with one of our legal professionals to get further information about school sexual abuse compensation claims, you are invited to give our claims helpline a call at any time and speak in confidence with one of our team who understand the delicate nature of making a claim for sexual abuse by a teacher.
Only people who themselves have been abused as a child at school will understand how difficult it is to make school sexual abuse compensation claims, and we believe we have assembled the right team of legal professionals to support parents and their children through the process of claiming compensation for sexual abuse at school.
You can be assured that all contact with our claims helpline is completely confidential, and there is no obligation on you to proceed with a claim for sexual abuse by a teacher once you have spoken with us. Our aim is to guide you through the process of school sexual abuse compensation claims in order that you and your child get some closure on this terrible incident and can move on with your lives.