Abuse Compensation

The Same Roof Rule – CICA compensation Claims

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CICA Same Roof Rule for pre-1979 cases – how to claim

On the 13th June 2019 the government announced they have formally abolished the “Same Roof” rule which prevented victims of crime (particularly those who suffered historical abuse) claiming compensation if they lived with their attacker before 1979.

This controversial rule has wrongly denied thousands of abuse victims rightful compensation since the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) award scheme was introduced by the government in 1964. This rule NO LONGER APPLIES. Here we explain the background:

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Call us to discuss your case today – 01423 593 002 or complete our enquiry form

Same Roof rule background and your right to make a claim

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What is the Same Roof rule and why was this unfair?

In the UK victims of crime can claim compensation through a government scheme operated by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The compensation scheme operated by the CICA has a number of eligibility rules and criteria. The Same Roof rule was included within the very first criminal compensation scheme implemented by the government in 1964.

This rule stated that no compensation would be paid to any victim who at the time of any abuse or assault was living with the perpetrator under the same roof. This extremely unfair rule meant that those suffering sexual abuse at the hands of family members living with them could not claim compensation. The rule was changed in October 1979 when a new scheme was introduced but the changes did not work retrospectively. So whilst you could at that time claim for family related sexual abuse if this happened after 1979, you still could not claim for abuse occurring before 1979.

The Same Roof rule continued to cause misery to many thousands of victims who found themselves unable to claim compensation despite winning guilty verdicts against their abusers in court. The rule has been heavily criticised over the years but successive governments refused to abolish it.

How the rule came to be abolished after all this time

landmark decision in the summer of 2018 paved the way for changes and the cross Government Victims Strategy published in September 2018 confirmed that the Ministry of Justice intended is to abolish the 1979 CICA rule. The government decided to bring forward this change and a statutory instrument laid in Parliament on the 28th February 2019 will accelerate the process of removing the pre-1979 rule completely. More on the Victims Strategy here

What does this mean for victims of sexual abuse before 1979?

The Same Roof rule has now been removed from the compensation scheme which means that all victims have a chance to claim compensation from the CICA subject to the relevant criteria being met. Those that have claimed before and been refused, can claim again. Those that have never previously claimed are now able to submit their applications. This is a huge legal change and the government have also stipulated that the CICA must deal with these claims through an accelerated procedure with a dedicated team of case workers. So less delays and a more personalised approach will be adopted. Read our top tips on claiming abuse compensation from the CICA

If you have claimed before and been refused – can you claim again?

Yes you can now claim again but you MUST submit a fresh application. The old application cannot be relied upon. You have until 13th June 2021 (2 years on from the rule change) to make your claim to the CICA and be aware that all claims are subject to eligibility.

What if no CICA claim has been made previously?

If you have not previously made any claim to the CICA for sexual abuse because of the Same Roof rule, you can now do so. Your deadline will be 13th June 2021 (2 years on from the rule change) so as long as you submit your case to the CICA before this you should have your claim fairly assessed subject to the usual eligibility criteria.

Information about making a claim for sexual abuse

If you suffered injury or harm as a result of a crime and have disclosed to the police you can now submit your claim to the CICA compensation scheme. The majority of the Same Roof pre-1979 cases will involve sexual assault or abuse and many victims will have mental health issues that may have significantly affected their lives and careers. You maybe entitled to claim loss of earnings in addition to a higher level disabling mental injury award. Such cases are complex and legal advice is recommended.

Do you need a solicitor or legal adviser to make a CICA claim?

You do not need to use a legal adviser or solicitor in order to make your claim. The CICA will deal with the public directly and therefore it is your choice as to whether you are represented or not. It is advisable to get legal support if your case is complex, if deadlines have been missed or if you cannot face dealing with the CICA claim procedures alone.

Call us to discuss your case today – 01423 593 002 or complete our enquiry form

There is further good news for victims as the government has ordered a wide ranging review into the rest of the CICA scheme. This will involve introducing a fairer process which will be victim focused rather than looking to reduce costs and limit victim rights. There have been some welcome changes to the compensation scheme already for abuse victims and we hope that the review underpins this shift in attitude at the CICA and Ministry of Justice.