If you were a victim of sexual abuse involving grooming you may be able to claim compensation even in circumstances where your consent may have been given to any abusive acts you suffered.
In recent years there have been many high profile abuse cases in the news involving what the press deem to be grooming gangs. However grooming occurs in the vast majority of abuse cases and compensation awards may be claimable for victims of this criminal activity.
This service is managed by the Criminal Claims Bureau who represent victims of crime seeking assault compensation in the UK. On this page victims can access legal advice to make their claim through the government scheme.
Support and resources for grooming victims can be found here.
Grooming compensation claims are made through a body called the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (known as the CICA). This body manages the compensation scheme for the government and they have a set of rules that determine eligibility.
In the past the CICA have refused to make 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 rule book led to many thousands of teenage or pre-teenage sexual abuse victims receiving no compensation despite clear evidence of a crime having taken place. Many victims aged 12 upwards were declined an award despite obvious signs they were groomed and under duress at the time of the crimes being committed.
The Sexual Offences Act 2003 stipulates that any sexual activity with children under 16 is unlawful and consent is for the purpose of the law deemed irrelevant.
It is often the case that victims are fooled into believing they were in a “relationship” with their abuser / groomer or sometimes other members of a gang. As such many of the crimes committed were consented to as effectively they had been brainwashed as part of the grooming process. The recent high profile case involving Operation Tendersea saw a large group of abused victims come forward and testify about how they were groomed. Many victims (and many of our clients involved in this case) had informed the police previously and were ignored. They had no prospect of making a compensation claim for their ordeal.
But that situation has now changed we are pleased to say.
We are aware of cases where the CICA in our view mis-applied their own scheme 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 CICA claim 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 in touch. We may be able to assist you with a Review of appeal once your case has been re-opened.
Have you suffered through modern slavery or trafficking? We can advise you on your rights to claim compensation for modern slavery or sex trafficking