THOUSANDS of victims who lived with abusers are eligible for millions in compensation after the government scrapped the “same roof” rule.
Previously, those who suffered domestic or child abuse before 1979 were not able to claim cash back if they lived with their attacker at the time of the horror.
But up to 7,500 people can now claim from a pot worth £126million after new legislation came into force on Thursday abolishing the controversial rule.
It comes after a Court of Appeal case decided the rule was incompatible with human rights – causing the Ministry of Justice to scrap it.
Victims now have two years to apply to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) and will be given a contract ensuring they will not have to relieve their torment to multiple people.
Given that most child abuse happens within the family and children are likely to have had no choice but to live under the same roof as their abuser, this rule was rightly viewed as deeply unfair and punitive
Gabrielle Shaw, NAPAC’s CEO
Victims Minister Edward Argar 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.”
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme gives taxpayer-funded payments to victims who have been injured as a result of violent crime.
They have so far paid out over £150million between 2017 to 2018 – with some of the now-eligible victims potentially owed between £16,500 and £22,000 each.
What is the 'same roof' rule?
THE so-called ‘same roof’ 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.
It was amended in 1979 to not prevent future victims accessing compensation but as it was not made retrospectively, some victims of crimes which occurred before the law change missed out on compensation.
The reasons for the rule was because of difficulties with evidence in such cases, and a wish to ensure that offenders did not benefit from compensation paid to the victim who they were living with.
The rule applies to all victims of abuse inflicted by a family member living under the same roof – including physical as well as sexual abuse.
Last year, the Court of Appeal decided that the ‘same-roof’ rule had unfairly denied a claimant who was abused by her stepfather the right to compensation.
Ministers then vowed to remove the rule as part of the Government’s Victims Strategy launched last year.
On Thursday, the legislation was scrapped by the Ministry of Justice – meaning victims will now have two years to apply to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) for compensation.
Victims will be provided with a dedicated team offering support and will have a named contract to ensure they do not have to repeat their traumatic experiences to multiple people.
Those applying or reapplying for compensation will have to meet the Scheme’s other eligibility criteria to be made an award.
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Gabrielle Shaw, CEO of NAPAC (National Association for People Abused in Childhood), said: “We are delighted that the ‘same roof’ rule has been scrapped.
“Given that most child abuse happens within the family and children are likely to have had no choice but to live under the same roof as their abuser, this rule was rightly viewed as deeply unfair and punitive.
“It is impossible to measure the damage done by childhood abuse, but for many survivors the impacts affect their health, their adult relationships and their earning potential throughout their lives.”