A “cruel and illogical” rule which has prevented thousands of survivors of child abuse and domestic violence from claiming compensation has been scrapped following a legal challenge.
Victims of violent crime at the hands of people they lived with will be able to apply for compensation as new legislation abolishing the so-called “same roof” rule comes into effect today (June 13).
Introduced in 1964, the controversial rule prevented people living under the “same roof” as their attacker from claiming compensation.
It was then changed in 1979, but not retrospectively, meaning victims from before that time have been refused payouts.
The Court of Appeal declared in July last year that this condition was incompatible with human rights laws, unfairly denying compensation to a claimant who was abused as a child by her stepfather.
It is estimated that as many as 7,500 victims could now apply for financial redress totalling up to £126m, according to a government impact assessment.
‘Deeply Unfair And Punitive’
Image Credit: Annie Spratt/Unsplash
Survivors will now have two years to apply to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
“Whilst no amount of compensation can make up for the immense suffering caused by such appalling crimes, by abolishing the rule we are widening access to much needed support and continue to review the entire scheme so it better supports victims,” said Victims Minister Edward Argar.
It is impossible to measure the damage done by childhood abuse, but for many survivors the impacts affect their health, their adult relationships and their earning potential throughout their lives.
Gabrielle Shaw, CEO of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood
Gabrielle Shaw, chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, said the rule was rightly reviewed as it was “deeply unfair and punitive”.
She added: “It is impossible to measure the damage done by childhood abuse, but for many survivors the impacts affect their health, their adult relationships and their earning potential throughout their lives.”
‘We Urge The Government To Continue Their Overhaul Of Unfair Rules That Deny Victims Compensation’
Charities including Victim Support, Barnardo’s, Liberty and Rape Crisis have welcomed the move in a joint statement – but highlighted a number of other “unfair rules” they urge the government to scrap.
“We are pleased that following a successful legal challenge the government has scrapped the cruel and illogical ‘same roof rule,’” the statement reads.
“Following this welcome change we urge the government to continue their overhaul of unfair rules that deny victims compensation, such as those that refuse pay-outs to people with unspent convictions, including children drawn into crime as victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation gangs.”