Government announces Criminal Injuries Compensation review

On 9th September 2018, the Ministry of Justice announced that they will be conducting a review of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme as part of their new Victims Strategy.

Many people, including survivors of historic child abuse, have found that their applications have been unsuccessful due to the outdated nature of the current CICA rules. It is anticipated that the outcome of this review, expected in 2019, will make recommendations that will lead to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) becoming more in tune with the needs of the victims of crime.

What could the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme review mean for potential applicants to the CICA?

  • The ‘same roof rule’ is likely to be scrapped. Currently, people who were victims of crimes committed by members of their family prior to 1st October 1979 are not eligible for compensation. In July 2018, it was decided in the Court of Appeal that the pre-1979 ‘same roof rule’ had unfairly denied a claimant, who was abused as a child by her stepfather, the right to compensation. The Government agreed with the judgement. The Government have announced that they will not be appealing the decision and will be drafting legislation to abolish the pre-1979 ‘same roof rule’.
  • Time limits for bringing an application to the CICA may be relaxed. The current scheme states that applications for compensation should be made within 2 years of the incident or the applicant’s 18th birthday (whichever is later). The CICA already have the powers to disregard this limit but it is anticipated that individuals who are making applications in relation to child sexual abuse will be given further leniency for delaying in disclosing what happened to them.
  • The review will also look at the CICA’s definition of a “crime of violence”. The Ministry of Justice have suggested that this may be widened to include offences such as grooming and sexual exploitation. Currently the CICA’s definition of a “crime of violence” does not make provision for offences such as voyeurism and or acts of sexual abuse committed via the internet.
  • The CICA may change their policy on assessing applications made by people who have unspent previous convictions. This could apply to individuals who have been groomed to commit crimes by their abusers.

It remains to be seen how this review will be concluded. The review will be influenced by further recommendations from the ongoing Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. It is hoped that more survivors of sexual abuse will be able to make successful applications and receive the compensation to which they are entitled.

The child abuse lawyers at Switalskis have a long and positive track record of handling applications to the CICA on behalf of people who have suffered sexual abuse. If you need confidential legal advice call us on 0800 138 4700 or email David Greenwood.

 

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice, and the law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice on their own particular circumstances.