Ruling out an extension to the deadline, Minister Malthouse reassures victims that late applications will still be considered on a “case-by-case basis”.
‘Same roof’ rule applications submitted past the 13 June deadline will still be considered on a “case-by-case basis”, a government minister has said.
The deadline for the scheme is fast approaching and some victims groups have raised concerns that victims impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic may not have been able to complete their applications in time.
In a letter to the Victims’ Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird, Kit Malthouse MP, Minister for Crime and Policing, offered reassurance to those victims who are unable to submit their applications in time due to extenuating circumstances.
“I would like to assure you, and victims,” he wrote, “that there are existing provisions within the Scheme to accommodate claims submitted outside of the time limit, which includes applications relating to the ‘same roof’ rule.” However, the Minister did not commit to a formal extension of the deadline for applications.
“Cases are carefully considered on their own merits,” wrote Malthouse, adding the responsible agency “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.”
The Home Office minister was responding to the Victims’ Commissioner’s letter of 19 May, in which Dame Vera Baird wrote on behalf of victims’ groups, who are requesting a 12-month extension to the ‘same roof’ rule compensation deadline.
Under the so-called ‘same roof’ rule, victims of violent crimes which took place before 1979 had been blocked from receiving compensation if the attacker was someone they were living with at the time of the incident. Since the government’s abolition of the rule in 2019, more than £20 million has been offered to over 1,200 victims who have so far applied for compensation. However, the deadline for applications is fast approaching – 13 June 2021, this coming Sunday.
Following requests from victims groups, the Victims’ Commissioner wrote to the Home Office requesting an extension to the 13 June deadline on the basis that the pressures associated with Covid-19 and lockdowns have impeded victims’ abilities to get support in order to focus on past trauma without risking re-victimisation.
In her letter, Dame Vera also raised additional concerns that many victim support organisations, which might otherwise have been there to assist those impacted by the ‘same roof’ rule, have had to focus attention on vulnerable victims who have been affected by ‘hidden harms’ arising from lockdown conditions, such as domestic abuse, and are in any case oversubscribed.
Dame Vera wrote: “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.
“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.”
In his response, Minister Malthouse offered his assurance to victims that if ‘same roof’ rule applications are submitted after 13 June 2021, “they will be considered on a case-by-case basis.”
The minister clarified that existing provisions within the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICS) accommodate claims submitted outside of the time limit. This includes applications relating to the ‘same roof’ rule. The agency which administers the Scheme, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), has the discretion to extend the time limit for claims in instances where, due to exceptional circumstances, the applicant could not have applied earlier.
However, while cases submitted beyond the 13 June deadline will still be considered, there is no guarantee they will be accepted. Underlining this, Minister Malthouse added: “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.”
On the application process itself, Minister Malthouse added: “I recognise that making claims to the Scheme will be difficult for some applicants…the CICA has established a dedicated team to handle ‘same roof’ rule applications and re–applications. 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…This bespoke provision is particularly vital during these challenging circumstances”.
If someone made a previous claim that was refused or reduced because of the ‘same roof’ rule, they can reapply for compensation or to have a previous award increased.