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July 24th 2018

Criminal Injuries

‘Same roof’ ruling will finally allow victims of abuse to claim compensation for their suffering

Nicola Bailey-Gibbs

Nicola Bailey-Gibbs

Solicitor, Personal Injury

‘Same roof’ ruling will finally allow victims of abuse to claim compensation for their suffering

Ruling that victims of crime who lived under the same roof as their attacker will now be entitled to compensation has finally brought an end to a long-running injustice in our legal system.

Ruling that victims of crime who lived under the same roof as their attacker will now be entitled to compensation has finally brought an end to a long-running injustice in our legal system.

Until the ruling by Lord Justice Leggatt, anyone abused by somebody who lived in their household before October 1, 1979 was unable to seek damages.

At Hudgell Solicitors we have believed that this outdated law needed to be overturned, as our team of specialist criminal injuries and abuse claims lawyers have met so many people who have suffered abuse at home only to be denied any form of justice.

The rule was originally brought in to prevent the abusers themselves benefitting from compensation paid to victims they lived with, which in many ways was a flawed approach due to awards being held in trust until a victim is 18 and due to many claims being brought when the victim is an adult, and no longer living with their attacker.

Those people abused at home prior to October 1, 1979, have never been put first, until now.

In a joint statement, Barnardo’s, Liberty and Victim Support have said that since 2015, 180 applications for compensation have been refused due to this terrible law.

Those people can today begin to seek justice, and receive the damages they deserve, knowing the law is finally on the side of them as victims.

Case involving abusive step-father has resulted in landmark ruling for abuse victims

The case of a woman who suffered serious sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather between four and 17, has been key to this highly significant ruling.

She was denied the right to damages because she shared a home her stepfather – yet another victim of his who hadn’t lived under the same roof received compensation.

He was convicted of eight offences including rape and sexual assault in 2012 and jailed for 14 years, but due to the law, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), a Government scheme established to award damages to innocent victims of violent crime, refused a payout.

Lord Justice Leggatt has quite rightly ruled that compensation being awarded to one victim, but not another, for a matter which was completely out of their control was ‘unfair’ and actually ‘a situation which may have ‘made her predicament and suffering even worse.’

This law has always been incompatible with human rights laws, and after many previous challenges, today is a day when finally, for so many people across England and Wales who have had no justice for their terrible suffering, the right thing has been done.

  • If you feel you may now be able to pursue a compensation claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), as you were previously denied under the ‘Same Roof Rule’, contact our team today on 0800 321 3366.

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