How do I prove mental abuse?



Victoria Price is a director of Price Slater Gawne and also Head of our Personal Injury team: she is one of the UK’s foremost personal injury specialist solicitors.

With an extensive background in personal injury, fatal injury and criminal injury claims, she has successfully brought claims against numerous defendants including private individuals, employers, large corporations, Government ministries and NHS Trusts. She is also highly experienced in making claims to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme in respect of physical and psychological injuries, including abuse and historical abuse cases. Here she answers the question: how do I prove mental abuse?

Mental or emotional abuse can take many forms but in essence it is where one person or more cause mental health harm to another. This can be caused by aggression, control, isolation, fear, loss of identity and freedoms.

The abusive behaviours can start all at once or build slowly over years. Sometimes the victims don’t know it is taking place until it is too late. And yes, we are often asked “how do I prove mental abuse?”

Personal injury claim

Any personal injury claim is built on the premise that physical and/or psychological damage has occurred as a result of an individual’s or organisation’s actions or omissions.

The injury must be significant enough to require assessment and treatment. We rely on our client’s medical notes and record from their GP and relevant hospitals or other clinics to show us the history of the injury and treatment.  The defendants are entitled to see these too.

Medical experts

We also rely on psychiatrists and psychologists to assess our clients and provide a report on which injuries have been sustained, how they have been caused, the effects the injuries have on the client’s life and recommendations for treatment.  The doctor who is selected to undertake this assessment is someone who is very experienced in this particular area of mental health and is experienced  at giving evidence at Court. These doctors are referred to as “Medical Experts” in the litigation process.

We will send this medical report to the defendant as proof of a client’s injuries and the extent that they are having an adverse effect on them. The defendant is allowed to select their own doctor to assess our client as well. The two doctors might have the same opinion or they might disagree.

Police criminal evidence file

Another way to prove that the abuse took place is to obtain the police criminal evidence file. We can see which offences the abuser was charged with and what the sentences were.  We can rely on the findings of the criminal courts as proof of the abuse. The survivor may well have given an interview and a witness statement to the police as well and this will be useful.

Our client will also have to provide us with a fresh witness statement for the purpose of the proceedings. Other witnesses to what had happened can also provide witness statements to assist the claim. All witnesses might also have to give evidence if the claim goes to trial.

If the defendant is an organisation such as an employer or a school or care home then we are entitled to ask for any information that will assist us with our investigations.

Specialist lawyers

This might seem like a daunting process and survivors would be forgiven for dreading having to go through events over and over but our specialist lawyers are very experienced in this field. They understand the pain that clients go through during these claims, but the compensation can provide the way for a new life, private treatment, a new home and a new start.  Our clients have been so grateful for us supporting them through their claims. It is worth pursuing and we are here with you every step of the way.


If you are affected by any of the issues raised here, please get in touch today. We are here to help you.