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Natalie Marrison, Head of Personal Injury and Abuse at Ramsdens Solicitors, appeared on BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Programme to discuss the current compensation rules for victims of child sexual abuse.

Natalie and Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham, informed the programme of how the current Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) scheme must change, as the current rules mean that some victims of childhood sex abuse are denied compensation.

The report follows an investigation by a group of MPs from across various parties led by Sarah Champion. Sarah described the current system as “totally broken” and advocated for there to be ruling by a judge for them to be able to apply for compensation with the evidence they have already given.

Natalie advised that some challenges faced by victims include time limits and unspent convictions. Under the current scheme, victims have 2 years from reporting to the police to apply for compensation, a timeframe described by MPs as ‘unrealistic’.

Natalie says: "Abused children must be allowed access to a CICA scheme that is appropriate to the trauma that they have been exposed to. We will continue to challenge and support survivors at every stage of the process."

The Ministry of Justice have launched a review into the scheme after the report said that many of the 400 survivors consulted find applying to the CICA “traumatizing and complicated”. In 2018-2019, of 4,972 resolved child sexual abuse cases, 111 victims were denied compensation due to unspent convictions, and 52 victims were denied due to the time limit being exceeded.

The group of cross-party MPs are advocating for the current scheme to be revised to:

  • Abolish the unspent convictions rule for survivors of sexual abuse
  • Abolish the time limit for application for compensation for sex abuse and violent crimes
  • Extend the definition of violent crime and scheme eligibility to include non-contact forms of child sexual abuse
  • Recognize that children cannot consent to their sexual abuse.

At Ramsdens Solicitors we have successfully challenged claims rejected by the CICA and have a wealth of experience in attending tribunals. We focus on the psychological impact that has been caused by the abuse and ensure that medical evidence is obtained to support and maximise claims made.

You can watch Natalie's interview on the Victoria Derbyshire website (scroll to 10:51).