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Landmark Victory for Sexual Abuse Survivor Denied Compensation Under Discriminatory 'Same Roof Rule'

24 Jul 2018

Senior judges have today (24th July 2018) ruled the archaic 'same roof rule', which denies some sexual abuse survivors Criminal Injuries Compensation, is incompatible with human rights law, after one survivor took her case to the Court of Appeal.

The woman, who was sexually abused by her stepfather from the ages of 4 to 17, had previously been denied Criminal Injuries Compensation because the abuse took place before 1979 and she had lived with her abuser at the time.

Today's landmark ruling means sexual abuse survivors in a similar situation will no longer be denied Criminal Injuries Compensation on this basis.

Rape Crisis England & Wales said:

"We are so pleased for this woman and all the many sexual abuse survivors this anomalous, outdated and discriminatory policy affects. We pay tribute to her great strength and tenacity in pursuing her case to such a resounding victory.

Rape Crisis has long campaigned for a complete overhaul of the current Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICA), which has routinely disadvantaged victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and other forms of sexual violence for far too long, in this and many other ways. 

Through our frontline experience of providing specialist emotional and practical support and advocacy to victims and survivors, we know the same roof rule has negatively impacted hundreds.

Not only has it meant victims and survivors have been denied financial compensation that could support them in some small way to cope with the long-term impacts of sexual violence on their lives, but it has caused them additional and avoidable distress and trauma. 

The so-called 'same roof rule' has ignored the fact that sexual violence and abuse is so often perpetrated by someone known, trusted, even loved, within the victim's or survivor's own home. Denying those in these situations, many of whom were children at the time of the abuse, compensation on the grounds of cohabitation with the perpetrator has not only been ignorant but cruel, by implying that victims and survivors are in some way culpable for their experiences or for not having prevented their own abuse."