It is obviously important to the wellbeing of victims of sexual abuse that those who prey on them are brought to book by the criminal justice system. However, as a High Court case underlined, it is equally vital that they be compensated for their ruined lives to the full extent that that can be achieved by money.
The case concerned a woman in her late 40s who was repeatedly abused by a friend's stepfather over a three-year period in the 1970s and 1980s, when she was between the ages of eight and 11. She has since suffered a range of psychiatric symptoms, including post-traumatic stress disorder, and has experienced great difficulty in maintaining intimate relationships.
Many years after the abuse occurred, the perpetrator was convicted of various sexual offences, including two sickening acts of abuse against her, and was sentenced to five years' imprisonment. She subsequently contacted solicitors, who launched a civil compensation claim against him on her behalf.
In ruling on the matter, the Court accepted the woman's consistent and unwavering evidence that the perpetrator had subjected her not only to the abuse of which he was convicted but also to five further deeply distressing sex attacks. He was ordered to pay her £79,755 in compensation and interest, including £55,000 to reflect her pain, suffering and loss of amenity and £10,000 in aggravated damages.