Second chance for 'same roof' victims

Mon, 04/27/2020 - 15:05 -- Slee Blackwell

CICA compensation: Don’t miss your second chance to claim

People who have previously been prevented from applying for CICA compensation by the 'same roof' rule now have until 12 June 2021 in which to make a claim

Background to the same roof rule
To qualify for an award of compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, there are a number of strict eligibility conditions that must be met. When the Scheme began in 1964, it included a condition that is commonly known as the ‘same roof rule’. This rule prevented a victim of a violent crime from receiving any award of compensation under the Scheme if their attacker was a member of their own family and they were living together at the time.
The level of injustice created by this rule is obvious, as it meant that those who had suffered abuse from a family member they lived with would be denied compensation under the Scheme. This would often apply to cases of abuse, including sexual abuse, perpetrated against a child. Those children would have had no choice or ability to leave the family home, but were nevertheless penalised and prevented from claiming CICA compensation.
Although the unfair nature of this rule was eventually recognised and changes were brought into effect in 1979, it was not retrospective. This meant that the new rules only applied to incidents that took place after 1 October 1979.
So, while from this date someone who suffered abuse from a family member they lived with would have a valid claim for compensation, that would not be the case if the abuse took place before 1st October 1979. This arbitrary distinction created an unjust outcome for many.
This situation was allowed to continue for decades, resulting in an overwhelming level of injustice. Victims of violent crime that took place between 1 August 1964 and 1 October 1979 were often left with no where else to turn for compensation, even if the perpetrator had been convicted of the crimes in question or admitted their guilt.
It was not until recently that this injustice was recognised and addressed.
The current CICA Scheme was amended on 13 June 2019 as follows:

Amendments to the same roof rule
The amended Scheme allows for anyone who has been the victim of a violent crime perpetrated by a member of their household to be able to apply for compensation under the Scheme. This covers the entire period from when the CICA first began on 1 August 1964, until the present date. It is no longer possible for the CICA to reject an application for compensation on the basis that the applicant and the perpetrator were living together under the same roof as members of the same family at the time of the assaults or abuse.

New CICA claim time limit
Under the CICA Scheme, there is a two year time limit to submit an application. Due to the amendments made to the Scheme, the Authority has made special provision to allow those affected by the same roof rule to be given time to apply for compensation without the claim being considered to be out of time. Under the amended Scheme, affected individuals now have two years from the date the changes came into force to submit their CICA application. Therefore, they have until 12 June 2021.

Previously rejected applications
The normal rule is that the CICA will reject any claim that has previously been submitted to them, regardless of the outcome of that previous claim. However, special provision has been made in the amended Scheme to give those who have previously had an application rejected due to the same roof rule another chance. These individuals will be able to submit a further application to the CICA. It is therefore possible to get a second chance at applying for compensation.

Victims unaware of their second chance to claim
Rachel Thain, a member of our specialist team of abuse lawyers, points out that although it is almost a year since the same roof rule was abolished, there has been very little publicity about it. She is concerned that many victims who are entitled to claim CICA compensation are not yet aware that they have been given a second chance of doing so.
"Second chances do not come along often," she says, "and I am fearful that some people may miss out on the opportunity available to them. Most of the cases I have seen have involved sexual abuse perpetrated in the home by a family member. In these cases, the individual who has suffered the abuse is likely to have no other source of compensation.

How we can help
It is still necessary for the other eligibility conditions of the Scheme to be met before the CICA make an award of compensation. Rachel is therefore helping people who were affected by the same roof rule to apply for compensation.
Some of the victims Rachel is working with did not apply for compensation in the first place because they were told they would not be successful. Others applied and tried their best to reason with the CICA, but their applications were rejected.
So, if you think you may have a claim, or know a friend or family member who has been affected, please get in touch with us to discuss your options. We can work on a No Win, No Fee basis so there is no need to allow fear of legal costs to put you off seaking justice.
We understand that no award of compensation can undo the harm that has been caused, but it can improve things for you today in a practical way.
However, It is important to take action quickly and seek specialist advice before it is too late.  The second chance window closes on 12 June 2021.
Call our free legal helpline for further information on 0808 139 1597 or send an email to

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