Sarah Champion MP Meets Secretary of State to Urge Review of Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)

CONTINUING her campaign to secure justice for victims of child abuse, Sarah Champion MP met with the Secretary of State for Justice, David Lidington MP, to discuss a review of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) which awards compensation to victims.

The scheme has been widely criticised for failing victims of child abuse by denying payments for a number of subjective reasons.

Sarah Champion MP asked the Secretary of State to review six aspects of the CICA process:

  1. Change current guidelines to stop denying compensation to victims by claiming they consented to their abuse.
  2. Guidelines should acknowledge that victims of child sexual exploitation, especially by gangs, are likely to have been coerced into criminal activity and a police record should not mean that they are denied compensation.
  3. The review should scrap the so-called ‘same roof rule’, in which victims of abuse by a member of their own household prior to 1979 are denied compensation.
  4. Review past rejected child abuse cases.
  5. Address the lack of transparency throughout the CICA process. There is no clarity on the process and no timescales are given.
  6. The language used in the rejection letter must be reviewed. A counsellor or psychologist needs to be involved in a redraft so additional damage is not done by CICA.

Sarah Champion MP said:

“David Lidington appeared genuinely concerned over the failings of CICA. He had a good knowledge of the concerns and had direct experience of a constituent who had experienced similar issues.  The ball is now in his court. As Secretary of State for Justice, he can change the approach of CICA overnight.

“It is clear to me that the culture of CICA is fundamentally flawed. Rather than seeing themselves as a service to help victims rebuild their lives, they seem to believe their role should be one of suspicion towards the victims’ applications. I really hope the Minister listens and makes CICA truly victim-focused, rather than just kicking this into the long grass.”

Matthew Trueman