A Shropshire solicitor is urging victims of violent and sexual crimes that took place prior to 1979 to take advantage of new legislation resulting from a Supreme Court ruling that will enable them to apply retrospectively for compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
Victims have until 13th June 2021 to apply for compensation but Claire Parfitt, a solicitor with GHP Legal which is one of the largest independent law firms in the region, says such cases will take time to put together so victims should seek advice from a solicitor sooner rather than later.
The CICA had previously adopted a ‘same roof’ rule which prevented victims from claiming compensation if they lived under the same roof as their abuser. This was particularly cruel for child sex abuse survivors. Whilst the draconian rule was abolished in 1979 it has taken until now for the injustice to be recognised by the CICA.
The turnabout came when a case was taken to the Supreme Court by Monica Allen whose mother tried to strangle her when she was five years old. The judgment on that case has opened the door to many more victims, including ‘Bev’ whose application for compensation had been turned down under the ‘same roof’ policy despite her abuser being convicted and imprisoned.
“Getting compensation for child sexual abuse is not about the money”, says Claire Parfitt. “It is about enabling victims to feel vindicated and to close a mentally crippling, demoralising chapter of their life and move on.
“Even if victims have had a previous claim turned down, they can now have a second chance to get compensation. The CICA has set up a special team of extra support workers to handle the claims process of historic cases, including a dedicated named contact for each applicant so that they don’t have to repeat their traumatic experiences to multiple people.
“I would urge victims to get in touch now to discuss their potential claim face to face with a solicitor who can support them throughout the claim process. Timing is key so they will need to get the ball rolling well in advance of the 13th June 2021 deadline for compensation claims to the CICA.”