An important deadline is approaching for victims of historic assaults which had, until last year, been covered by a regulation known as the ‘same roof rule’ – with just six months now left for applicants who had previously been excluded from claiming compensation to begin legal action.
In June last year, the ‘same roof rule’ was abolished by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), which deals with compensation claims from people who were victims of a violent crime and been physically or mentally injured.
What is the same roof rule?
The rule applied to claims relating to assaults that took place prior to August 1979, where the assailant and the victim were living in the same house as members of the same family.
In those circumstances, until the rule changed last year, anyone who applied to the CICA for compensation would not be eligible. Applicants who claimed for compensation in this situation had their applications refused as the abuse had happened within the family prior to this date.
Even worse, where two family members such as a mother and son or two siblings had been assaulted by the same family member but one had been assaulted prior to August 1979 and another abused after that date, one would be eligible for compensation and the other would not.
With more people coming forward to report such abuse in recent years after a series of high profile cases, and with more people making claims to the CICA, the rule was challenged. In 2018, the Court of Appeal found that an applicant had been unfairly denied the right to compensation following abuse by her stepfather.
What does this mean?
The Court of Appeal ruling led to the CICA removing the “same roof rule” and saying it would deal with any claims that had already been refused under this rule, while also agreeing to deal with any claims that had not been submitted but would have been refused under the old rule, as long as they met all other criteria
The upshot is that many thousands of claims could now be submitted, with the total value of claims estimated as being in the region of £126m.
However, the CICA also set a cut-off date – June 12, 2021 – and that’s approaching quickly. It’s now just six months away so potential applicants need to act fast.
Before a claim is submitted to the CICA certain specific details are required, such as a crime reference number. When dealing with events that occurred many years ago it can take some time to gather all the details needed for the claim to be submitted. As there are only six months to go before this deadline, any applicant should therefore start looking at making a claim as a matter of urgency.
Though applicants can submit a claim to the CICA themselves, instructing a solicitor can however make a significant difference in the following ways:
- Identifying crime reference numbers and obtaining other details required from the police so that an application can be fully completed
- As these are emotive claims, individuals will often benefit from having a solicitor supporting them through the claim as it helps them through a potentially traumatic process
- CFG Law can signpost clients to support groups or other organisations that offer further support and assistance.
Whatever route potential applicants take, choosing a solicitor or submitting a claim themselves, there is no time to delay. Six months is not a long time so acting now is essential.