I'm campaigning with Andrew Perriman of Teesside Law Clinic for a change in the law to abolish a rule preventing people sexually abused in their own homes before 1979 from claiming compensation.
It’s incredible that anyone who suffered sexual abuse in the home, that was carried out by a family member living under the same roof, cannot claim compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICS) simply because the offence took place before 1st October 1979.
Victims I have been made aware of come to feel worthless and punished twice for the trauma they have been through – which could have been on multiple occasions and from a very young age. The ‘same roof’ rule discriminates against blameless victims of historical sexual abuse and it needs to be scrapped.
I welcome representations and evidence from Teesside Law Clinic based in Teesside University and will be working closely with them to seek a change in the law”.
Andrew Perriman, Senior lecturer in Law at Teesside University, says, “I welcome Mr McDonald’s support calling for an early review and to press for an urgent change in the law. The ‘same roof’ rule is morally untenable and it is our view that it can be rectified with relative ease and with minimal administrative or financial impact on the CICS.
"Teesside Law Clinic is dealing with a number of cases and is currently challenging the ‘same roof’ rule in the Court of Appeal on behalf of one our clients. Thankfully, the number of potential claimants is likely to be low but compensation should be available to all claimants who suffered abuse since the introduction of the CICS in 1964”.
In the meantime, I will be working with Parliamentary colleagues to try and raise awareness of this issue. This will undoubtedly be of particular interest to those MP’s who have had victims in their constituencies raise the matter at their advice surgeries. In addition, I am hopeful that this will be an issue that could warrant an inquiry by the Justice Select Committee and the committee may wish to hear directly from victims and their representative.