Compensation slashed for over 400 victims of sexual abuse who later committed crimes
Compensation for over 400 victims of sexual abuse who subsequently committed crimes has been reduced the BBC reports.
Lower compensation was awarded for offences including those involving drugs, drink or violence.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), an executive agency sponsored by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), said it was obliged to reduce or even refuse victims awards if they had subsisting convictions.
Child abuse lawyer Alan Collins called for this “scandalous” approach to be reviewed.
He said judges in civil cases were more frequently taking the opposite view – that abuse could be a contributory factor in crimes committed by victims.
The CICA has compensated 12,665 people since 2010, each of whom was sexually abused as a child or as an adult who lacked mental capacity.
However, 438 people have had their compensation cut because they themselves were guilty of crimes the BBC discovered after making freedom of information requests.
Compensation was slashed in 27 cases between June 2014 and June 2015.
Of these, half were for offences related to drugs, drink and property, with eight related to violence against people.
CICA did not disclose how many of these victims’ applications had been rejected.
In a statement it said: “The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme has always asked that awards are reduced or refused if the victim had unspent convictions”.
The MoJ said the cuts reflected the fact the individual “may have caused distress, loss or injury to another person, and cost the taxpayer money through a police investigation or court proceedings” and added there were no plans to review the scheme.
However, Odette Tovey, a lawyer in Sheffield who has represented grooming victims whose applications the CICA have rejected said: “The crimes committed against the victims far outweigh the crimes that these victims committed.”
She added that the CICA needs to consider the fact that victims’ crimes “were as a result of mental health problems developed because of the period of abuse they went through”.
Where no deductions are made victims are eligible for compensation up to £27,000. The average award following a cut was £8,423.