Child sex vic­tims de­nied pay­outs if they ‘con­sented’, say char­i­ties

The Daily Telegraph - - Front page - By Olivia Rudgard So­cial af­fairs cor­re­spon­dent

CHILD vic­tims of sex­ual abuse are be­ing de­nied com­pen­sa­tion be­cause a govern­ment agency in­sists they “con­sented”, a group of char­i­ties has said.

Char­i­ties in­clud­ing Barnardo’s, Vic­tim Sup­port and Rape Cri­sis say that chil­dren as young as 12 are be­ing de­nied com­pen­sa­tion be­cause of claims that they went along with their abuse.

Chil­dren can­not con­sent to sex­ual ac­tiv­ity un­der the law, un­less they are over 13 and the de­fen­dant rea­son­ably be­lieved they were over 16.

But the Crim­i­nal In­juries Com­pen­sa­tion Author­ity, which sets pay­outs for sex­ual abuse, uses dif­fer­ent cri­te­ria. In ev­i­dence submitted to the In­de­pen­dent In­quiry into Child Sex­ual Abuse last year, Barnardo’s said that the author­ity had re­sponded to a claim from one child by say­ing that “it con­sid­ers con­sent as a ques­tion of fact … a vic­tim can con­sent in fact even though in law they may be deemed not to have con­sented”. The char­i­ties say chil­dren are made to feel they are to blame for the abuse.

Vic­tim Sup­port cited the case of a 12-year-old girl who was plied with al­co­hol and as­saulted by a 21-year-old man, but de­nied com­pen­sa­tion be­cause she had gone off with him “vol­un­tar­ily”.

The char­i­ties have writ­ten to David Lid­ing­ton, the Jus­tice Sec­re­tary, de­mand­ing the guide­lines are changed.

The Min­istry of Jus­tice was un­able to ex­plain last night why the guide­lines dif­fered to the law.

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