I Was Drunk When I Was Raped, Can I Claim Compensation?

If you were the victim of rape when you were drunk, you may be entitled to claim compensation for the injuries and psychological harm you were caused. When it comes to sexual assaults, alcohol is one of the most common ‘drugs’ used because it is so easily available. On top of this, it is legal and the side effects could cause a person to experience impaired perceptions, memory loss, coordination, loss of consciousness and their decision making is negatively impacted too.

In short, when you are under the influence of alcohol you are more vulnerable and a perpetrator would use this to their advantage. Should this be the case, it may give you grounds to seek rape compensation through the CICA scheme because sex without consent is deemed to be ‘rape’ under the law in the UK.

To find out more about who to turn to if you were the victim of rape when drunk and how to seek compensation, please read on.

What is the Definition of Rape?

If you are forced to have penetrative sex by another person and you have not given your ‘consent’ or you did not agree, then that is ‘rape’.

Whatever the situation, if you have not given your consent, nobody has the right to force you to have sex with them. The definition of rape includes:

  • Penetration of a penis in a vagina, anus or mouth

It is also worth noting that men and women can be the victim of a rape but that only ‘men’ can be the perpetrators of rape. Should you have been assaulted by a male or a female who penetrated you with some other part of a body part or an object, under UK law this is classed as an ‘assault by penetration’. However, this type of offence would be tried in a similar way to rape if a case goes to court.

What is the Definition of Consent?

Under UK law, consent must never be ‘assumed’ whether you are in a relationship or marriage and it would not matter how you were behaving/acting or what you happened to be doing at the time, if you did not ‘consent’ to having sex with a person, it is rape. If you were drunk at the time, the chances are that you were not able to ‘consent’ to having sex because you were incapable of understanding what was going on, or, you may have been asleep at the time. In short, if you did not have the capacity to ‘consent’ to sex with another person, they cannot ‘assume’ that you did.

It is also worth noting that you can ‘change’ your mind. If you decided not to have sex after initially agreeing to, you have the right to change your mind and that nobody has the right to ‘force’ you to have sex with them once you do. If the person does not stop, their actions would be seen as ‘raping you’ or sexually assaulting you.

In the UK, the legal age of consent is 16. Legally a child who is under the age of thirteen cannot consent to any sort of sexual activity.

Rape Statistics in England and Wales

There were 121,113 sexual offences reported in England and Wales with 41,150 cases involving rape (ONS Crime Survey year ending March 2017). This showed an increase of 15% over the previous year (2016) with one in five women having experienced a form of sexual assault/violence (England and Wales) at some point in their lives since they turned sixteen years of age. More information can be found here. The report also established that women are almost five times more likely to suffer a sexual assault than men.

What Situations Could Be Classed as Rape?

You may be targeted by a person if you are under the influence of alcohol and this could be because you got drunk yourself or you were enticed into drinking too much by a perpetrator who goal is to sexually assault you.

When it comes to being raped, it would not matter if you were drinking or you were drugged and did not realise it, the person who sexually assaults you when you are incapacitated or your judgement is seriously impaired, would be committing rape whether the offence was perpetrated by a friend or a stranger. In short, being forced to have sex without giving your consent is considered rape.

What is Date Rape?

Although not an offence, date rape is a term that describes rape when the victim is sexually assaulted by someone they know. The person who is the victim of the rape may have been drugged and therefore not able to consent to having sex with the perpetrator.

What is Marital Rape?

Even if you are married, consent to have sex with your partner must never be ‘assumed’. Just because you are married does not mean a partner has the right to force you to have sex with them without you consenting to do so. Should this be the case and you are forced into having sex with a partner, they could be prosecuted for having raped you.

What is Statutory Rape?

The term ‘statutory rape’ refers to the rape of under the age of consent children. As previously mentioned, legally a child who is under the age of thirteen cannot consent to any sort of sexual activity with the age of consent being sixteen in the UK.

What is Gang Rape?

If anyone is the victim of rape committed by a group of men, the term ‘gang rape’ is used to describe the sexual assault.

What is Oral Rape?

When a person is assaulted by a man who places their penis in your mouth without consent or agreement, this is referred to as ‘oral rape’

What is Digital Rape?

Digital rape refers to when a perpetrator uses their fingers to penetrate the victim’s anus or vagina and it can be committed by men or women. Under the law, this type of rape is referred to as an ‘assault by penetration’ and would be handled in a similar way to rape should a case be taken to court.

What is Anal Rape?

Should you be assaulted by a man who places his penis in your anus without you having given your consent, it is classed as rape and both women and men could be the victims of anal rape. Should you have been the victim of anal rape and your assailant penetrated your anus with an object or other body part, under the law this is classed as an ‘assault by penetration’ and it can be committed by women and men. Should a case go to court, the assault would be treated as ‘rape’ and an assailant could face life in prison.

Who Do I Report a Rape Assault To?

There are a number of reasons why people are apprehensive about reporting a sexual assault of a rape to the authorities which includes because of the following:

  • They were drinking alcohol or under the influence of drugs when the incident occurred
  • They are married or in a relationship with the person who raped them or they know the person
  • They had a previous sexual relationship with the person who raped them
  • They had been touching each other or kissing before they were raped
  • They were with a person of the same sex – were in a lesbian or gay relationship
  • They did not say ‘no’ or they did not put up a fight
  • They cannot clearly remember what happened during the attack

It is important to point out that it is never your fault if you were raped, no matter what the situation or circumstances and that the Police take rape extremely seriously. You also have the option to seek advice from Victim Support if you need help throughout the process of reporting a rape crime to the authorities.

It is also worth noting that you are not obliged to report a rape crime to the police if you don’t feel strong enough to do so and that Rape Crisis would always be there to offer support when you need it the most. With this said, if you were raped or sexually assaulted within the last 7 days, you can opt to be examined at the nearest Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) so that forensic evidence can be gathered and although you are not obliged to do so, it is always wiser because this means you have proof of the rape if at a later date you want to report the incident to the police and your case then gets taken to court.

If you decide that you would like to undergo a forensic examination, it is important that you do the following:

  • Keep the clothes you had on at the time of the rape
  • Do not wash the clothes you were wearing at the time of the attack
  • Avoid having a shower or bath if you are able to

If you want to report a sexual assault or rape, you can do so by phoning 999 as soon as you can after you have been attacked but if you feel you are in danger, you should call 999 straight away.

However, if a lot of time has passed, you can report a sexual assault or rape to the police by phoning 111.

What Are the Effects of Rape and Sexual Assault?

A sexual assault or being raped is a traumatic experience which can not only result in physical injury but it can also leave you emotionally scarred. As such, you should consider seeking medical assistance as soon as you can to check for the following:

  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Injury
  • Pregnancy

A traumatic attack like rape can affect people in different ways with some people feeling nothing whereas other people may experience the following:

  • Ashamed, guilty at what happened
  • Depressed, suicidal
  • Flashbacks
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Trouble staying focussed
  • Numb
  • In shock
  • Tearful, irritable or angry

These feelings may last a long time but it is important to know that what happened to you is not your fault and that any reactions, or feelings you experience are perfectly normal and that you are not alone.

What are the Consequences of Being the Victim of a Rape?

Because a sexual assault or rape leaves you traumatised, it may take time for you to build up enough courage to talk about things. As such, seeking support is essential so that you can move on with your life. You can seek help from a trusted member of your family or a close friend. If you find this too hard, there are organisations like Victim Support who are there to offer the help you need at such a vulnerable time. You could also seek help from your GP if you feel you can, all the while remembering that you do not have to face this type of traumatic ordeal on your own.

How Can I Claim Compensation for Rape?

If you were the victim of a sexual assault or you were raped while drunk, you may be entitled to seek compensation and a solicitor who specialises in non-consensual sexual assaults and rape would be able to offer essential legal advice on how best to proceed and whether you would be eligible to claim through a government backed scheme known as the CICA (Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme).

Would I Be Eligible to Make a Rape Claim Through the CICA Scheme?

For your claim to be accepted by the CICA, there are specific criteria that must be met which are as follows:

    • The rape/sexual assault must have been reported to the police
    • You must fully cooperate with the police during their investigations
    • Your rape compensation claim must be submitted to the CICA within the time limit which is within 2 years of having reported the crime to the police. However, there are exceptions to this rule. As such, seeking legal advice from a solicitor is essential to determine whether you still have time to make a CICA claim even if the two year deadline has expired

Who is Told If I Decide to Make a Rape Compensation Claim?

When you feel strong enough to make a claim for sexual assault or rape compensation through the CICA scheme, the process remains confidential. The only people/organisations who could be made aware of your intentions are the following:

  • The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
  • The police
  • Your GP (doctor)
  • Your solicitor

Your assailant would have no knowledge of your application to the CICA and would not be involved in any part of the process.

What Happens When I Report a Rape to the Police?

The thought of being involved in a police investigation is daunting at the best of times and the decision to report a rape crime can be extremely challenging. Today, the police take rape crimes very seriously and as such, they are far better equipped to handle this type of traumatic crime. Officers are trained to deal with cases of sexual assault and are therefore far more sympathetic to victims of rape.

With this said, the police would need to interview everyone who was involved in the assault and this would include witnesses if there were any. The statement you provide as the ‘complainant’ would typically be done as a video interview. It is also worth noting that an assailant may be interviewed on video too and this would be done ‘under caution’.

Any additional evidence that could be required may include the following:

  • Medical records
  • Witness statements (if there are any)
  • Media evidence (phone-based – if there is any)

In due course, the case would be referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) if the crime took place in England or Wales. If the rape assault took place in Scotland, the police would refer the case to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) at which time a decision would be made as to whether to prosecute the offender or not. If the case goes to trial, a date or window would be set bearing in mind that this can take anything from one to two years. Should your case be more complex and multiple victims are involved, it can take even longer.

What is the CICA Claims Process and Associated Rules?

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority was established in 1964 so that victims of sexual or violent crime could claim compensation for their injuries and suffering. There are strict rules that apply to CICA claims with the main criteria being that a crime must have been reported to the police for a person to be eligible. Other criteria include the following:

  • A claim must be submitted to the authority within 2 years of the crime having been reported to the police
  • Anyone who submits a claim through the CICA scheme must have fully cooperated with the police throughout their investigations at all times
  • The authority would check if you have any unspent convictions – if found that you have, your claim could be turned down by the authority

What Evidence Would I Need to Provide in a Sexual Assault or Rape Claim Through the CICA?

The authority would obtain evidence gathered by the police to determine whether allegations made against an offender can be substantiated. Other evidence that may be required could include the following:

  • Medical records either provided by a GP or a hospital if you suffer from mental health issues following the rape attack on you

It is worth noting that you may still be entitled to claim rape compensation through the CICA scheme even if no medical intervention took place. You may also be entitled to claim any financial losses you incurred as a direct result of the injuries whether psychological or physical you sustained. However, this would only be the case if you were obliged to take a long time off work and evidence would be required which could be from an employer or HMRC.

Would My Rape Compensation Claim Through the CICA be Successful?

Providing your rape compensation case meets all the required CICA criteria and there is enough evidence to establish that on the ‘balance of probability’ a crime against you was committed, there would be a good chance the authority would accept it. Should the case have been to court, it is typically a good indication that ‘probability’ has been met. However, you could still receive compensation through the CICA scheme even if your case did not go before a judge providing the police fully support your case and there is sufficient evidence to support your case.

Why Would My Rape Claim be Refused by the CICA?

There are several reasons why a claim for compensation through the CICA would be turned down, some of which are listed below:

  • There is not enough evidence to prove a crime was committed – this could typically be related to the question of ‘consent
  • There are unspent criminal convictions – this includes drink driving
  • The police reported that an applicant did not fully cooperate with them during their investigation
  • The claim to the CICA was made too late and did not meet the 2 year deadline

Should I Seek Legal Representation if I Make a Rape Compensation Claim Through the CICA?

Because there are strict rules that apply to applications through the CICA scheme, it is far wiser to seek legal representation before submitting a rape compensation claim to the authority. The CICA will deal with you directly, but having legal support helps ensure that the necessary criteria is met and reduces the chance of your claim being turned down. A solicitor has the necessary experience required to handle rape compensation claims made to the CICA and would ensure that rules and time limits are respected from the outset.

Links to Helpful Websites

If you would like more information on how Rape Crisis can help you, please follow the link below:

Help and support from Rape Crisis 

There is a rape victim helpline you can contact for help, support and advice on what to do if you were the victim of a rape, to find out more please click on the link below:

Rape and Sexual Assault Helpline

For more information on how the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority handle rape cases and who would be eligible to apply for compensation through the Scheme, please follow the link provided below:

Eligibility for Compensation through the CICA Scheme