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CICA apologises for sexual abuse compensation refusal (9 November 2017)

Date: 09/11/2017
Duncan Lewis, Legal News Solicitors, CICA apologises for sexual abuse compensation refusal

A man known as HND, now 20, experienced grooming from the age of 13 which resulted in sexual abuse. Following prosecution against the men who were charged with abusing him, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) refused his claim for compensation on the grounds that he consented. They have since apologised following a review into the policy.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) received back-lash for their policy on child abuse cases only being eligible for compensation if the child has not consented. The CICA have revised their policy to state that all child abuse cases should be considered on their own merits in response to the criticism.

The rebuttal against the original guideline was felt in the form of five high profile charities, including: Barnardo’s, Liberty, Victim Support, the National Working Group and Rape Crisis. The charities expressed their concern in the form of a letter to David Liddington, the Justice Secretary, highlighting cases in which children as young as 12 have been refused compensation due to the CICA’s guideline disallowing consented child abuse victims from receiving compensation.

The guidance has been changed to consult the issue of consent, stating that:

“You should be mindful that an applicant may not realise they have been abused at the time of the incident due to the coercive effects of sexual grooming or child sexual exploitation.”

However, the policy still advises that if it is clear that a child has committed to the sexual activity of their own free will, then “no crime of violence has occurred” which invalidates a claim for compensation.

HND received an apology from the CICA weeks before he was due to appear to give evidence for the appeal against the CICA’s original refusal.

Carole Oatway, the CICA’s chief executive, wrote a letter to HND expressing her regret at how his case was originally handled, stating that on review of the evidence, he would be eligible for compensation. She said:

“I can only imagine how traumatic your experiences have been and, although the past cannot be erased, I hope that my apology and the compensation you will receive can help you move forward in a positive way.”

The original decision may not be reversed completely by these reviews by the CICA, even if compensation is later issued, since the mental health of those initially refused compensation may have suffered as a result.

HND’s father believes that his son’s recovery has been slower as a result of the initial decision, since it places blame on the victim.

The CICA initially denied HND’s claim for compensation stating that by signing up to an over-18’s website when underage meant that he consented to the resulting sexual activities which came from meeting his abusers. The CICA’s apology for this came just before HND was due to attend the appeal triggered by their review of their guidelines.

It is thought that there are still many victims of child sexual abuse who have yet to have their cases reviewed pending these changes.

Duncan Lewis Personal Injury Solicitors

Duncan Lewis Personal Injury solicitors are experienced in sexual and physical abuse claims, including child sex offence claims and sexual abuse claims. As the leading firm for Legal Aid solicitors, Duncan Lewis accepts sexual and physical abuse claims on a no win no fee basis.

The Duncan Lewis personal injury team understands how traumatic making a claim can be – and our solicitors offer a confidential, supportive and effective claims service for those wishing to make a compensation claim for sexual or physical abuse.

If you or someone you know requires expert advice for a sexual or physical abuse claim, call Duncan Lewis Solicitors on 0333 772 0409.

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