Sexual abuse victim gets payout after abolition of controversial ‘same roof rule’
A woman who was sexually abused as a child by her half-brother has been awarded thousands of pounds in damages after a controversial ban on payouts was abolished.
The 58-year-old is thought to be one of the first people to be offered compensation since the so-called “same roof rule” was scrapped last month.
Lawyers for the woman – who lives in Ealing, west London, but cannot be named for legal reasons – said she has been handed £16,500 after being assaulted when she was as young as seven.
Her attacker is serving a six-and-a-half-year jail sentence, Hudgell Solicitors said.
Before June 13, the law denied victims who lived with their attackers the chance to claim damages if incidents took place before October 1979.
It was originally introduced to ensure offenders did not benefit from financial awards made to victims they shared a home with.
It was scrapped after a Court of Appeal judgment last year ruled it was “incompatible” with human rights.
Now all victims can apply to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), which awards taxpayer-funded payments to victims of violent crime, regardless of when the attack took place.
The woman, who claims her late mother never believed her allegations and accused her of being a liar, said: “When I was nine I finally found the courage to say what was happening as I knew it was wrong and I feared being left alone with him.
“I feel looking back now that I lost my childhood. As a nine-year-old girl I had nowhere to go and there was nothing I could have done.
“Compensation can’t change what happened to me or give me my childhood back, but it can bring some closure to it all which I feel it has done.
“It has been a hugely difficult burden to carry for 50 years. I hope this law change helps others reach a similar outcome.
“It was a ridiculous law because, as a child, you can’t escape abuse unless an adult helps you and takes you from the situation.”
According to the law firm, CICA refused 4,000 applications under the previous rule and expects 70% of them to now result in damages.
As many as 3,500 fresh applications are expected now the change has come into force, Hudgell Solicitors said.
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