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Letter from Minister for Crime and Policing to the Victims’ Commissioner on ‘same roof’ rule compensation

Dear Vera

Thank you for your letter of 19 May, on behalf of victims affected by the ‘same roof’ rule, requesting an extension to the deadline for applying to the amended 2012 Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (the Scheme).

The changes that we made to the Scheme in 2019 are an important representation of the Government’s commitment to helping victims of violent crime rebuild their lives and get the compensation to which they are entitled. I am grateful to you for making me aware of the concerns raised by victims affected by removal of the ‘same roof’ rule regarding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their ability and resilience to apply to the Scheme by the deadline of 13 June 2021.

I would like to assure you, and victims, that there are already existing provisions within the Scheme to accommodate claims submitted outside of the time limit, which includes applications relating to the ‘same roof’ rule. You will know that the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (the CICA), which administers the Scheme, has discretion to extend the time limit for claims in instances where, due to exceptional circumstances, the applicant could not have applied earlier. Cases are carefully considered on their own merits and the CICA must have sufficient evidence to be able to determine a claim without further extensive enquiries. The CICA will consider a wide range of factors, and I have been advised that this includes whether, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic or its wider impact, a victim has been prevented from submitting their application for compensation sooner.

I recognise that making claims to the Scheme will be difficult for some applicants and, as mentioned in your letter, the CICA has established a dedicated team to handle ‘same roof’ rule applications and reapplications. All applicants under the Scheme will have a named contact, to minimise having to recount details of what they have suffered on multiple occasions and to different people. The CICA will make appropriate enquiries with the applicant and the relevant authorities, and will aim to do this as sensitively and as quickly as possible. This bespoke provision is particularly vital during these challenging circumstances.

Since changes to the pre-1979 ‘same roof’ rule came into effect, we have taken opportunities to raise awareness of the rule change and of the deadline of 13 June, to ensure as many victims as possible are aware of the change and have sufficient time to apply. We have worked with you and other victims’ representatives and support organisations to make sure potential applicants are signposted to guidance and support in making a claim, both in July 2020 when we launched our consultation on the review of the Scheme, and in May 2021. The efforts to raise awareness of the rule change have had a positive impact, with over £20m being offered to over 1,200 victims in ‘same roof’ rule claims since June 2019.

I personally want to extend my thanks to you for helping to raise awareness among victims of the amended Scheme and the approaching deadline for applications. I invite your ongoing assistance in encouraging victims intending to apply under the ‘same roof’ rule change to do so as soon as possible, and by 13 June 2021 if they can.

I hope this information provides you, and the victims that have contacted you, with assurance that if ‘same roof’ rule applications are submitted after 13 June 2021 they will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

KIT MALTHOUSE MP

Read Dame Vera’s letter.