Further to previous blogs on this issue we are delighted to report that the controversial paragraph 19 of the criminal injuries compensation scheme, more commonly known as the’ same roof rule’ has finally been abolished by new legislation.
This amendment to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Scheme follows years of campaigning by abuse survivors and pressure groups and will hopefully open up access to compensation for thousand of abuse survivors who were previously denied this right.
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 government vowed to remove the rule as part of the government’s Victims Strategy launched last year.
The effect of these changes is that anyone who was previously denied compensation under the rule, or who was put off from coming forward because of it, will be able to make fresh applications within two years from the date of the amendments, which came into effect on the 13th June 2019.
At Jordans we have specialist abuse lawyers who you can speak to in in confidence if you have been affected by anything in this article .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 on 0800 9555 094 or you can request a call back.