Abuse Victims Can Apply for CICA Compensation

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Article updated 31/10/2022

More survivors of physical and sexual abuse can apply for compensation following the abolition of a controversial law in 2019.

Under the previous so-called “same-roof” rule, survivors of violent abuse weren’t able to claim compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) if:

  • The criminal injury was sustained before 1 October 1979
  • The survivor of abuse and the assailant were living together as members of the same family when the abuse occurred.

However, this rule has long been deemed unfair, as the choice as to whom they lived with and where they lived would often be outside the survivor’s control.

The scrapping of the “same-roof” rule in 2019 meant that anyone who has previously been denied compensation could now make a further Criminal Injury Abuse Claim, however a deadline was set which was 12 June 2021. After this date an application can still be submitted to the CICA, but the survivor needs to prove there were exceptional circumstances that prevented them from making their claim earlier.

We understand how difficult it is to come forward about abuse that happened a long time ago. We offer free initial legal advice on making a CICA claim. Contact our Abuse Claims Solicitors who may be able to deal with your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis, so ask us for details.

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Our Abuse Solicitors represented a client who suffered serious sexual assault by her foster father when she was between the ages of 12 and 16. Her foster father was convicted of the abuse in respect of our client and following his conviction she subsequently made an application to the CICA for compensation.

However, her application was initially rejected by the CICA as, at the time of the abuse, she was living with her foster father as members of the same family. As a result of the change of the law, our client was able to claim compensation, subject to the other requirements of the CICA scheme.

Abuse Claims Solicitor Nathalie Swanwick at Simpson Millar said, “I am delighted that this unfair rule that prevented my client and other innocent survivors of abuse from receiving compensation has now been removed.”

Former Victims Minister Edward Argar said at the time that while no amount of compensation can make up for the “immense suffering” caused by the abuse, abolishing the rule will widen access to “much-needed support”.

“Improving support for victims of physical and sexual abuse is at the very heart of the government’s work, and through our Victims Strategy, we are determined to improve their experience at every stage of the justice system,” he said.

How Long Do I Have to Make a Criminal Injuries Compensation Claim?

If you were over the age of 18 years old when the abuse occurred, you have 2 years from the date of the incident (or period of abuse) to submit your application. In exceptional circumstances the CICA may extend the time limit at their discretion. If the abuse occurred when you were under the age of 18 and it was reported at the time, you have until your 20th birthday to make your application. If the abuse was reported as an adult you have 2 years from the date you report it to the police.

Whether you have already reported your case or not, our Abuse Claims Solicitors can help you make a claim for compensation. While we know that no amount of money can make up for your suffering, it can help survivors of abuse get a sense of justice. We can support you every step of the way.

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