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On 13 June 2019 a rule which has denied compensation to some victims of violent crime since 1964 was finally abolished.

The rule, known as the ‘same roof’ rule, was introduced as part of the inaugural Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and was intended to prevent perpetrators of violent crime from benefiting as a result of compensation awarded because of their crimes, by disallowing victims who lived under the same roof as the assailant at the time of the crime.

Although an amendment in October 1979, enabled victims to recover compensation if they no longer lived with their attacker and were unlikely to do so again, the change was not retrospective, so victims before this change have been refused compensation. Most frequently, this rule denied victims of child sex abuse and domestic violence.

In July 2018 the Court of Appeal decided that the ‘same-roof’ rule had unfairly denied a claimant who was abused by her stepfather the right to damages. Ministers followed this up by vowing to abolish the rule in February 2019 and finally, as of 13 June 2019, thousands of victims of violent crime prior to October 1979, are now eligible for compensation. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority have pledged to reconsider applications from those who were previously denied compensation on these grounds, and those where were put off from submitting an application, because they anticipated that their application would be rejected.

Neil Fearn, CEO of Pryers Solicitors, has welcomed the change, by saying that “it is good to see that some of the most vulnerable victims will now be able to receive the compensation they deserve, it is only a shame that it has taken 55 years since the scheme’s initial introduction, for this to happen”.

If you think that you might be entitled to compensation, please contact our personal injury team, who will be able to assist you in submitting an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

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