A Government assessment has found that up to £126 million may be paid out in compensation to victims of crime who were assaulted by the people they lived with before 1979.
The findings come after the decision to remove a 55-year-old law which prevented people who lived under the ‘same roof’ as their attacker from claiming compensation.
It is believed around 7,500 victims could now be eligible for financial redress.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme provides state-funded compensation to victims of violent crime in England, Wales and Scotland. However, under the ‘same roof’ rule compensation was not paid if, before 1979, the victim and assailant were living together in the same family at the time of the attack.
The rule was originally designed to ensure perpetrators did not benefit from compensation paid to their victim. However, it massively disadvantaged certain child victims including those who suffered from sexual abuse who had no choice about where and with whom they lived.
Of 350 applications refused over the past five years by the CICA relating to the “same roof” rule, 94 per cent related to sexual abuse against a child.
The legislation was amended in 1979 to allow people to gain legal redress for being abused by someone they lived with, but it was not made retrospective, meaning that those abused before the rule change received no compensation, compared to victims after that date who did.
In its assessment, the government has estimated the number of people refused compensation under the rule and who can now reapply, together with those applying for the first time.
Individual payouts could be between £16,500, and £22,000. However, this all depends on the number of applications made by those retrospectively applying after being refused and those victims applying for the first time.
In a statement, the Ministry of Justice said: “Whilst no amount of compensation can make up for the immense suffering endured by victims of violent crime, we are committed to ensuring that they receive the help and support needed to rebuild their lives.”