The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) have previously refused to make compensation awards to victims of grooming and sexual abuse where it was thought the victims may have consented to the acts.
This extremely harsh interpretation of the CICA’s own rulebook led to many hundreds of teenage sexual abuse victims receiving no compensation despite clear evidence of a crime having taken place. Many victims aged 12 upwards were fooled into believing they were in a “relationship” with their adult groomer or other members of the gang. As such many of the crimes committed upon them were consented to as effectively they had been brainwashed as part of the grooming process.
The CICA wrongly interpreted their rules to use the consent argument against the young victims who in many cases would end up with no compensation payment despite the perpetrators being jailed.
Under pressure from various lobbyists and charities such as Barnardo’s the CICA have now been forced to re-think their approach to such cases. Our understanding is that internal guidelines within the CICA handling team structure now encourage a more sympathetic approach.
Under the new guidelines, each claim will still be considered on its individual merits but the enhanced advice contains clear instructions for assessors to check for possible indicators of grooming and child sexual exploitation. The new guidance for staff states: “Even if it appears that the minor expressed consent to the acts in question, it cannot be assumed that this was given because the child wanted to engage in sexual activity as this may actually be a symptom of coercive control.
The key phrase here is coercive control – for the first time the CICA are recognising that victims of this form of sexual abuse are under the grip of their abusers with intimidation, threats of violence and clever manipulative behaviour overriding any argument that genuine consent was given.
If your claim has been refused – please get int ouch. We may be able to assist you with a Review of appeal once your case has been re-opened.