Martin Partington: Spotlight on the Justice System

Keeping the English Legal System under review

Review of the Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme

leave a comment »

 

When the Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme was originally introduced in 1964, there was a rule that applicants were not entitled to compensation if they were living with their assailant as members of the same family at the time of the incident.

The reasons for the rule were, broadly, 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 applied to all victims of abuse inflicted by a family member living under the same roof; this included physical as well as sexual abuse.

The rule was amended in 1979 to apply to adults only. Under the revised rule applicants could still be refused compensation if at the time of the incident they were adults living with the assailant as members of the same family, unless they no longer lived together and were unlikely to do so again. The amended rule gave CICA discretion to consider what had happened after the incident taking place, which  significantly reduced the number of applicants who were refused under this amended rule. The amended rule was, however, not retrospective.

In July 2018 the Court of Appeal found that the pre-1979 rule unlawfully discriminated against an applicant who had suffered injury before the 1979 changes.

The government has decided to not appeal this ruling. Instead, it confirmed it would consult on changes to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.

In September 2018, the Government announced that it was launching a review that will look at concerns around the eligibility rules of the scheme, the sustainability of the scheme and the affordability of any changes to be made. The review will also enable the government to take full account of recommendations made by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

More specifically, the review will look at issues including:

  • time limits for applications – the scheme’s time limit requires that applications be made by a person over 18 as soon as practicable and no later than 2 years after the date of the incident. It is suggested that victims of child sex abuse disproportionately delay reporting such crimes and applications for compensation, and therefore miss out on compensation.
  • the ‘same roof’ rule – we will remove the pre-1979 rule and we will consider further changes to the remaining ‘same roof’ rule and previous failed applications.
  • unspent convictions – the scheme automatically excludes an award if the applicant has an unspent conviction which resulted in a specified sentence (custodial sentence, community order or youth rehabilitation order). It is suggested the rules disproportionately impact vulnerable victims of child sex abuse who may have offended in response to being abused/exploited/groomed.
  • crime of violence– the scheme sets out what constitutes a crime of violence for the purposes of assessing entitlement to compensation. It is suggested that this definition should be broadened to include sexual exploitative behaviour, such as grooming.
  • terrorism – the terrorist attacks of last year left people with serious life changing injuries and brought to light questions about the suitability of the scheme in providing support to victims of terrorism. The review will consider and clarify the eligibility, entitlement and amount of compensation to be awarded. This will build on the roll-out of the ground-breaking Victims of Terrorism Unit last year, to help ensure the best possible support.

The intention is that the review will be completed sometime in 2019, with change following thereafter. There is no hint that the review will expand the scope of the types of injury for which compensation can be claimed.

Details of the review can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/justice-secretary-announces-victim-compensation-scheme-review-scraps-unfair-rule

 

 

Advertisements

Written by lwtmp

November 29, 2018 at 12:11 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: