Legal rights for historic abuse victims after “same roof rule” is abolished

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Kim Leslie, Partner at Digby Brown, discusses the questions that remain over the rights of victims after the UK Government abolished the ‘same roof rule’, which previously prevented victims from criminal injury compensation if they lived with their abuser.

Victims of violent crimes in the UK can apply for compensation to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme which has operated since 1964. When it was established, the “same roof rule” prevented victims receiving compensation if they lived in the same household as their assailant.

Since then, the rule has been amended - but not for victims who were abused between 1 August 1964 and 1 October 1979 and lived under the same roof as their attacker.

This has been widely challenged by the legal profession across the UK and one case, JT v First-tier Tribunal and CICA [2018], found it was unlawful discrimination and a breach of human rights.

As a result, this led to the rule being abolished and the change of law is expected to come into force at the end of April or early May 2019.

However, it has become clear that this not only abolishes the rule, but allows for those who previously applied to the scheme and were refused on the basis of the same roof rule, an opportunity to reapply.

Figures published indicate that the CICA have refused about 4,000 applicants previously. It is hoped that the CICA contacts those affected to advise that their application can be resurrected, and they can get criminal redress.

You can read the full article on Journal Online: Rights after “same roof”.

Kim Leslie

Kim Leslie,
Digby Brown