Unlike the rest of Europe, the UK has no statute of limitations for serious sexual crimes.
Whilst victims of sexual abuse may derive some comfort from seeing perpetrators imprisoned, there is a general lack of awareness that they are often also entitled to an award of compensation if the abuser is successfully prosecuted.
In one case, a man who suffered years of abuse at the hands of a Cub Scout leader 30 or more years ago has secured £48,000 in damages from the Scout Association.
The abuse began very soon after the man joined the cubs at the age of eight and continued until he was 15. He was extensively groomed and preyed on by the Cub Scout leader, a serial paedophile who was subsequently jailed for 10 years for 25 sexual offences against children.
The Scout Association accepted that it was legally liable for the leader’s misdeeds but disputed the amount of compensation payable to the man, now aged in his 40s.
The High Court found that not all of the difficulties that he has suffered in his later life could be blamed on the abuse. However, in making the award for his pain, suffering and loss of amenity, it recognised that he was deserving of sympathy.