Abuse Compensation

The pre-1979 abuse compensation same roof rule- forthcoming reforms

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The governments pre-1979 abuse victim rule is soon to be abolished

LEGAL UPDATE January 2019

The Ministry of Justice announced late 2018 they are to review the unfair “same roof rule” which prevents victims of crime (particularly historical abuse) claiming compensation if they lived with their attacker. The rule applies to those who were hurt or abused before October 1979.

Here at the Criminal Claims Bureau we have been very aware of the damage this unfair rule has caused to those already suffering with the emotional and mental health impact of abuse. Put simply it was always a mechanism to save money and in the end served to deny justice to those who in many cases had already successfully taken their case through the criminal courts. One such victim decided to take her refused CICA case to the Court of Appeal (CoA) to directly challenge the government rule. A landmark decision followed whereby the CoA agreed that the rule was unfair and needed to be reviewed.

We are pleased to say that the government have decided not to appeal the CoA decision and therefore it is widely expected that the 1979 same roof rule will soon be abolished. We are expecting a new compensation scheme to be implemented and the latest information we have is that the changes may take place in March 2019.

What does this mean for previous and future claimants?

Firstly, please be aware that this is still recent news and at this stage the 1979 rule remains in place. Also the CoA case applies to England and Wales only and we are aware that the CICA are awaiting the outcome of a similar case based in Scotland to go through the Supreme Court in February or March 2019. We cannot be certain that any rule change would apply to those in Scotland retrospectively.

At this stage if your case falls under the 1979 ruling we understand that the CICA will allow claims to be submitted but no action will be taken until a formal review has taken place.

The CICA will conduct a thorough formal review of the compensation scheme and will report back to the government in early 2019 to allow changes to be implemented. We anticipate a new compensation scheme being implemented as stated in the Spring of 2019.

So whilst the 1979 rule is likely to be removed we do not know when and no guarantees about receiving compensation can be given until the review has finalised.

We are seeking guidance about the best course for applicants to take during this interim phase and we shall provide further updates here on this website in due course.

MAKE AN ENQUIRY TODAY for specific advice on your compensation prospects after this rule change. Call 01423 593002