Letter from the Victims’ Commissioner to Minister for Crime and Policing on ‘same roof’ rule
I have been approached on behalf of victims who were affected by the ‘same roof rule’ who are asking for the deadline for applications for criminal injuries to be extended by 12 months.
The so-called ‘same roof’ rule, blocked victims of violent crime from receiving compensation if the attacker was a family member they were living with at the time of the incident. It was amended in 1979 to not prevent future victims accessing compensation, but as common with many changes to the law this was not made retrospective. This has led to some victims of crimes which occurred before the law change missing out on compensation.
From 13 June 2019 some of these victims were able to apply for compensation as a result of new legislation coming into force which abolished the ‘same-roof’ rule. In practice, this meant anyone previously denied compensation under the rule, or put off from coming forward because of it, was able to make a fresh application.
These victims had until 13 June 2021 to apply to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, where there is a dedicated team set up to provide extra support with the claim process.
The victims who have approached me have asked for the extension as they were planning to apply but the pressures associated with Covid19 and lockdowns have pre-occupied some and impeded their ability to get support in order to focus on past trauma without risking re-victimisation, especially in cases where lockdown has left them alone.
Furthermore, we are aware victim support organisations who might have been expected to assist some of these victims have been depleted and also very heavily focused on vulnerable victims who have been affected by the hidden harms arising from social distancing.
The last 12 months have been difficult for everyone and I very much hope you will be willing to extend the deadline to assist these victims.
Dame Vera Baird QC