Crim­i­nal awards re­view or­dered

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS -

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.

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