Abuse Victims Find Strength After Law Change

The government decision to abolish the ‘same roof’ rule, which has prevented hundreds of victims of abuse before 1979 receiving any form of compensation if they lived with their attacker at the time of the incident, has given a chance of justice to victims of historic childhood abuse.

The head of a Verisona Law's Historic Abuse team, Charles Derham, is sharing the relief and renewed vigour of his clients since the government announced its imminent overturning of the ‘same roof’ rule in cases of childhood abuse.

The rule, which has been struck out as part of an ongoing review of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, was originally intended to ensure that the perpetrators did not benefit from any compensation paid to their victims, but has now been acknowledged as unfair to victims of sexual abuse, who had no choice in where or with whom they lived.

The decision follows from the recent case of JT, whereby a woman was abused by her stepfather between the ages of 4 and 17. In 2012, the stepfather was convicted of eight offences including rape and sexual assault, jailed for 14 years and whilst a relative who was abused but did not live with him was eligible for compensation, the stepdaughter, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks and nightmares, was not.

This landmark case has since paved way for a proposed change to the archaic legal rule.

Government officials, including Victims Minister Edward Argar, declared the ‘same roof’ rule out-dated, incompatible with Human Rights laws and unfairly denying access to compensation.

‘The government’s measures to abolish the rule mean that victims of historic abuse are able to re-apply for compensation’ explains Derham. ‘I have had a number of clients waiting on this impending decision and, judging by the enquiries I am receiving, there are a great deal of people out there who will be affected.’

‘I have always felt that the rule was unfair,’ said Baroness Newlove, Victims' Commissioner for England and Wales. ‘It has caused unnecessary distress to many victims and survivors, especially within families, where some siblings have been eligible for criminal injuries compensation and yet others have not, solely on the grounds of the date on which the abuse took place.’

Derham concludes, ‘This ruling opens up the opportunity for those who were previously unjustly and unfairly precluded from claiming for compensation to receive justice’.

If you, or a loved one, have been affected by sexual abuse, please do not hesitate to contact our team of experienced lawyers who will be happy to speak to you about whether it may be possible to bring an abuse claim.


Below is a selection of organisations/instutions/bodies we are frequently instructed to pursue.

Schools

  • Private schools, boarding schools, local authority schools, closed schools, hospital schools.

Charities

  • The Scouts Association, St Johns Ambulance, MIND, the Children’s Society, Barnados.

Private companies

  • Football trainers, judo teachers, dance instructors, swimming instructors, holiday activity centres, nurseries, youth clubs.

Local Authorities/Ministry of Defence

  • County Councils, Borough Councils, City Councils, ILEA, cadets, navy/ army (forces).

National Health Service Trusts/Commissioning Boards/GPs

  • Hospitals, Disability care centres, children’s care providers.

Perpetrators

  • Convicted perpetrators, acquitted perpetrators.

Children’s Homes

  • Respite care, full time children’s home, part-time children’s homes.

Religious Institutions

  • Roman Catholic Church, United Synagogue, Sisters of Nazareth, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Brothers Order.

Foster Carers

  • Permanent carers, temporary carers

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