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Campaigners demand urgent reform of child abuse compensation rules following court ruling

Release Date: 24 Jul 2018

Barnardo’s, Liberty and Victim Support have welcomed today’s court ruling in favour of a woman denied compensation after surviving child sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather.

The woman brought a case to the Court of Appeal to challenge a rule which denies her the right to compensation because she lived under the same roof as her attacker.

Her stepfather, who abused her when she was aged between four and 16, was convicted of eight offences including rape and sexual assault in 2012 and jailed for 14 years. However, when she applied to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, which pays damages to victims of violent crime, she was denied a pay-out.

Her application fell foul of the "same roof rule" which prevents victims of crime who lived in the same household as their attacker before 1979 from receiving compensation.

Following the court’s ruling, Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan, Victim Support’s CEO Diana Fawcett and Director of Liberty, Martha Spurrier said:

This victory brings us another step closer to an overhaul of the unfair and illogical Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICS).

The outdated ‘same roof’ rule has prevented survivors of child sexual abuse from claiming compensation because their abuser was someone they lived with before 1979. Since 2015 the CICS has refused 180 applications. Today’s ruling paves the way for them to receive the justice they deserve, so they can move on with their lives.

However, the CICS is still failing victims. It tells children they consented to their own abuse, denies compensation to victims of online exploitation and restricts pay-outs for people with completely unrelated criminal convictions. The Government must urgently rewrite the CICS guidance to make it fit for purpose.

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