A positive outcome for survivors of historic abuse

There has been an important Court of Appeal ruling recently about the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and how it treats victims of historic abuse. The ruling could mean that claims that have not been allowed to proceed before could now be allowed to go ahead.

The change that has occurred concerns a rule called the “same roof” rule. This rule prevented victims of abuse from claiming compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) if they were abused before 1st October 1979 and at the time they lived together with the perpetrator of the abuse as members of the same family.

The purpose of the rule was to prevent the compensation being misused – for example by the perpetrator having influence over the victim and access to the money. The rule also tried to prevent fraudulent claims occurring where the abuse had not in fact taken place but the parties colluded to say it had.

The flip side of the ‘roof rule’ is that someone who was abused in another place by a family member eg by their father at another’s house would be eligible. Also, someone who was not a family member who lived in the same house as the perpetrator -such as a child who was fostered or a family friend – could claim as well. The adult or child who lived in the same house as the perpetrator as members of the same family could not claim. Cases have been refused on this basis for decades.

The Court of Appeal was asked to consider this part of the CICA scheme against the principles of the Human Rights Act Rule 14. Rule 14 prohibits the State from acting or making decisions or rules in a discriminatory way. The argument was that the CICA Scheme which is a Government Scheme was discriminating against the children and adults who were family members who were living in the same household as the perpetrator.

What this means to you is that if you are a survivor of historic abuse, then you may now be eligible to receive compensation for the damage that was done to you all those years ago. You may be eligible even if you previously applied to the CICA for compensation and your claim was rejected under the same roof rule.

If you are a survivor of historic or recent abuse, even if it was not reported to the police, please contact us. At Price Slater Gawne, our team is experienced in presenting applications to the CICA.  We will deal with your application sensitively and we will provide you with all the help and advice that you need.