'Same-roof' bar on compensation to be lifted to help abuse victims

A bar on victims of abuse receiving financial compensation if they lived in the same home as their attacker will be abolished, the government has announced.

Justice secretary David Gauke, set out the changes to the “same-roof rule”, which was changed in 1979 but not retrospectively applied, which meant victims of offences in the past could be denied the compensation their cases merited.

The rule applies to adults and children and states that applicants are not entitled to compensation if they were living with their assailant in the same family at the time of the abuse.

In addition to abolishing the same-roof rule, the government will begin a review of the criminal injuries compensation scheme. Gauke said that changes were necessary to help those affected by offences including sexual abuse and terrorism.

Officials will assess a number of the scheme’s rules, including a time limit on when applications can be lodged and restrictions on claims from those with criminal records. The review will begin immediately and report back next year.

The Ministry of Justice will also weigh up whether to extend the crimes covered to include grooming.

People who suffer as a result of violent crimes in England, Wales or Scotland can be awarded taxpayer-funded payments of up to £500,000 through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.

Claims can be made in relation to mental or physical injury, sexual or physical abuse, loss of earnings and the death of a close relative and in 2017-18, the scheme paid out more than £150m.

But ministers have faced calls for an overhaul from MPs and campaigners over claims its rules are outdated and illogical.

Gauke said: “Whilst no amount of compensation can make up for the immense suffering endured by victims of violent crime, it is vital they receive the help and support needed to rebuild their lives.”

He said he wanted to ensure the scheme reflected the “changing nature of crime” and could better support victims, especially of child abuse.

“Over the years we've seen more prosecutions for sexual offences and sadly experienced the horror of terrorism,” he added.

“We need to make sure these victims get the awards they're due so we will be looking to ensure the criteria are appropriate.”

The same-roof rule came under scrutiny in July, when the court of appeal declared it incompatible with human rights laws.

The government is not appealing against the decision, and will bring forward secondary legislation to abolish the rule.

Possible changes to the post-1979 same-roof rule, and previous failed applications, will be considered as part of the new review.

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.


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


  • 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.


  • 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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