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Up to 7,500 victims of abuse to get compensation after rule change

Written by: Emma Lunn
Thousands of victims of abuse and violent crime could be eligible for millions in compensation after the government scrapped the ‘same roof’ rule.

The rule blocked victims of violent crime from receiving compensation if the attacker was a family member they were living with at the time of the incident.

The rule was amended in 1979 to not prevent future victims accessing compensation, but as common with many changes to the law this was not made retrospective. This led to some victims of crimes which occurred before the law change missing out on compensation.

The changes were brought in after a court of appeal test case decided the rule was incompatible with human rights – and subsequently resulted in the Ministry of Justice abolishing it as part of the government’s Victims Strategy launched last year.

This means up to 7,500 victims of child abuse or domestic violence will now be able to claim from a pot worth £126m bringing relief to those who’d until now been locked out of the system.

Edward Argar, victims minister, said: “The ‘same-roof’ rule was unfair and we recognise the impact this had on victims whose applications were refused simply because they lived with their attacker.

“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.

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

Victims will now have two years to apply to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), and will be given a named contact to ensure they do not have to repeat their traumatic experiences to multiple people.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme awards taxpayer-funded payments to victims injured as a result of violent crime, paying out more than £150m to victims in 2017/18.

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