The BBC has today published an article about the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) scheme and the rules which mean that some victims of childhood sexual abuse are unable to claim compensation through the CICA.
Many people, including the survivors of historic child abuse, have found that their applications have been unsuccessful due to the outdated nature of the current CICA rules. The Government are undertaking a wider review into how the victims of crime are compensated as part of the Government’s new Victims Strategy. It is anticipated that the outcome of this review, expected later 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.
Some of the changes which MP’s are saying need making include:
- Removing the rule regarding unspent criminal convictions if your application relates to childhood sexual abuse
- Removing the 2 year time limit that usually applies to applications to the CICA in case relating to sexual abuse
- An extension to the definition of what a ‘violent crime’ is to include non-contact forms of child sexual abuse for example the taking of indecent images, or those who have been groomed into performing sexual acts online but where no actual physical contact has taken place
- An acceptance that a child cannot consent to their sexual abuse
The scheme has been amended over the years to include more appropriate categories but there is now more pressure for the current scheme to be overhauled.
Sarah Champion MP has said “The whole scheme needs comprehensive reform so that victims and survivors are put at the centre of the process because, right now, it is all about saving the government money not supporting people to rebuild their lives shattered by crime.”
The CICA scheme has made changes in recent years. For example in February 2019 the Ministry of Justice announced that they had brought forward legislation to abolish the “same roof” rule. Prior to this, people who were victims of crimes committed by members of their family prior to 1St October 1979 were 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.