Criminal awards review ordered
THE Justice Secretary has ordered a full review of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme after critics warned some victims are unfairly denied payouts.
David Gauke said the move was necessary to ensure those affected by offences including sexual abuse and terrorism get the awards they are due.
Officials will assess a number of the scheme’s rules, including a time limit on when applications must be lodged and restrictions on claims from those with criminal records.
The Ministry of Justice will also weigh up whether to extend the crimes covered to include grooming.
In addition to the review, which will start immediately and report back next year, the Government also announced that a controversial bar on financial awards to victims if they lived in the same home as their attacker before 1979 will be abolished.
People who suffer as a result of violent crimes that take place in England, Wales or Scotland can be awarded taxpayer-funded payments of up to £500,000 through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.
Claims can be made in relation to mental or physical injury, sexual or physical abuse, loss of earnings and the death of a close relative.
In 2017-18, the scheme paid out more than £150m.
But ministers have faced calls for an overhaul over claims its rules are outdated and illogical.
Mr Gauke said: “Whilst no amount of compensation can make up for the immense suffering endured by victims of violent crime, it is vital they receive the help and support needed to rebuild their lives.
“Today I’m announcing that we will review the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme to ensure it reflects the changing nature of crime and can better support victims, especially of historic and current child abuse.”
He said the pre-1979 “same roof rule”, which unfairly blocked some victims from compensation, will be scrapped. The rule was part of the original compensation scheme, introduced in 1964. It applies to adults and children and states that applicants are not entitled to compensation if they were living with their assailant as members of the same family at the time of the incident.