"This dividing victims between deserving and undeserving comes on top of the de facto decriminalisation of sexual violence."
Campaign group Women Against Rape, otherwise known as WAR, have today lashed out at the Government for rejecting compensation claims for close to 1,000 victims who claim they’ve suffered from sexual offences.
More than double the amount of claims made via the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, or the CICA over the past six years have been denied compared to 2015.
Calling the move ‘outrageous’, the campaigners claim that most were denied compensation on the basis of minor convictions, like shoplifting, sex work or not possessing a TV licence.
Following a Freedom of Information request from Metro, it’s been revealed that last year, 53 applications for sexual offence compensation were reduced and 173 applications denied by the CICA.
In comparison, in 2015 – the most recent comparable data from the authority – 49 were reduced and 68 denied.
You can see that the number of claims being refused has risen drastically, with over double the amount of victims being refused compensation than five years ago.
WAR is working to stand up for those denied support, highlighting the many applications that have been turned away.
One includes a woman who has been refused any compensation funds – despite being raped at thirteen years old by two men – because she had driven without insurance and refused to take a sample test, according to Metro.
Ultimately, WAR campaigners have shared that the scheme – which is run by the Government – needs to be overhauled to rid it of the ‘terrible discrimination’ they say it practices.
Calling victims ‘character and conduct’ into question is unjust, they maintain.
Spokesperson Lisa Longstaff told Metro: “It is outrageous that nearly 1,000 victims of sexual assault were denied any or some compensation on the grounds of unrelated and often very minor convictions such as for shoplifting, sex work or non-payment of a TV licence. We are all entitled.”
“This dividing victims between deserving and undeserving comes on top of the de facto decriminalisation of sexual violence.”
“Many are women who helped put dangerous serial attackers in prison, a service to public safety the CICA doesn’t value.”
“CICA rules make it so hard to get compensation that victims are re-traumatised by the process. We are campaigning for all victims to get the justice and compensation we have a right to.”
As of yet, the CICA maintains it cannot provide details on why claims were denied.
Under current CICA rules, it is acceptable to take a claimant’s ‘character and conduct’ into account when deciding whether to compensate them for sexual offence claims. This means they can look at whether alcohol or drugs were involved, and whether the victim has ever been involved in any crime or minor cautions. Sadly, these do not need to be convictions, just claims.
A CICA spokesperson commented: “We recognise the impact of these sickening crimes and are clear that victims should receive all the support they need.”
“That’s why our compensation scheme is one of the most generous of its kind in the world, with over £195 million paid to victims last year, and we are funding more rape support services than ever before to help them rebuild their lives.”