Following years of pressure from campaign groups, abuse survivors and a landmark ruling from the court of appeal in 2018 the Ministry of Justice have finally laid down a statutory instrument that will abolish the controversial paragraph 19 of the Criminal Injuries compensation scheme which has become known as the same roof rule.
When the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme was established in 1964 the reasoning behind the rule was to ensure there would not be a situation where the assailant could benefit from compensation that was awarded to a victim. When the scheme was reviewed in 1979 it was amended and specifically stated that that no compensation would be paid in relation to any crime of violence that occurred before 1 October 1979 ‘if, at the time of the incident giving rise to that injury, the applicant and the assailant were living together as members of the same family’.
The unfairness of this rule was highlighted by the case of JT v First-Tier Tribunal  EWCA Civ 1735. The Claimant was the victim of sexual abuse by her stepfather during childhood when they lived in the same household. Because the abuse occurred before 1979 she was not entitled to receive an award, yet another relative who had been sexually abused by the stepfather was entitled to an award because she was not living in the same household as her abuser at the time.
In 2018 the Court of Appeal upheld JT’s complaint that this difference in treatment was in violation of Article 14 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms as incorporated into UK law by the Human Rights Act and was therefore unlawful due to its discriminatory nature.
The same roof rule has often been a barrier preventing survivors of sexual abuse within a family home from receiving compensation through the scheme.
It is anticipated that the statutory instrument will go through Parliament unopposed and will mean previous applicants who were refused an award can reapply for compensation.
At Jordans we represent victims of abuse. If you have been a victim of abuse and would like to speak to one of our specialist abuse lawyers in confidence, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can advise you on the available options for pursuing a civil damages claim. Jordans successfully represent and secure compensation for numerous victims of abuse and are experts in overcoming the particular challenges that arise in these sensitive cases. Our abuse team can be contacted free on 0800 9555 094.