CICA changes the rules on “consent” in abuse cases

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) - the Government body that deals with compensation for the victims of violent crime in the UK, has issued new guidelines to staff in order to ensure that survivors of sexual abuse in childhood who claim are not denied compensation on the mistaken grounds that they had consented to the abuse. 

Five charities who work with survivors of sexual abuse – Rape Crisis, Victim Support, Liberty, NWG and Barnado’s, wrote to the justice secretary, David Liddington in July 2017 warning that children as young as 12 at the time of the abuse were being denied compensation.  In some cases the CICA were advising claimants that they had consented to the abuse, even where the perpetrators had been jailed.   In one example cited by Victim Support, a gang of older men was jailed for a total of 30 years for raping and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl. The girl’s claim was rejected by the CICA on the grounds that she had consented.  Victim Support said that the girl was, understandably, devastated with this decision and left with the feeling she was somehow responsible for the abuse she suffered.         

The new guidelines set out that each claim will be considered on its own merits, but it clarifies that claims assessors should pay attention to any indication of grooming and child sexual exploitation.

The CICA’s guidance states “Only where it is clear that the sexual activity was of the applicant’s genuine free will should it be found that no crime of violence has occurred and that the sexual activity should not attract compensation under the scheme.”

David Hawkins a lawyer with Verisona Law, who specialise in Child Abuse claims, says “It is good news that the CICA’s change of approach will open the door to more people being allowed to claim for abuse suffered in their childhood. However, I don’t think the CICA’s changes go far enough, as they still do not appear to recognise that sexual activity with a child under the age of consent can never be of a child’s own free will”      

If you, or a loved one, have been affected by sexual abuse and wish to pursue a CICA claim, 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.


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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