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What was the Same Roof rule?

In 1964 the government implemented the Same Roof rule which was a law included in the very first (non-statutory) criminal compensation scheme. The rule was unjust in that it stated that any victims who lived under the same roof as their abusee would not receive any compensation for the despicable crimes of abuse and assault committed against them.

The passing of the Same Roof law was linked to the misconception of what sexual violence was. Until recently it was widely believed that if sexual violence or abuse was committed by someone you lived with, then it couldn’t be defined as abuse. As a result of this stigma, many survivors of abuse have missed out on claiming the compensation that they deserve.

What happened to the rule in 1979 and why was it unfair?

In October 1979 the Same Roof rule was revised when a new scheme was introduced. From then onwards, victims of family-related sexual abuse could claim compensation if the abuse happened after 1979, but the new changes were not retrospective. In other words, victims of abuse that had occurred before 1979 were unable to claim.

The new rule was extremely unfair to the thousands of victims who had suffered domestic abuse prior to 1979 and were deprived of receiving compensation because of the cut-off point. Consequently, the rule was heavily debated but it remained in force for another 40 years.

Abolishment of the Same Roof rule

In July 2018 the Court of Appeal decided that the Same Roof rule was unfair when a woman known as JT won a landmark court case against her abusive stepfather. In 2012 JT’s stepfather was convicted of rape and sexual assault and was jailed for 14 years. JT was abused between the ages of four and 17 but was previously denied compensation because of the Same Roof rule and the right to claim compensation.

This case acted as a catalyst for the cross-Government Victims Strategy published in September 2018 which confirmed that the Ministry of Justice intended to abolish the 1979 CICA rule. The rule was finally abolished on 13th June 2019. Anyone who had been denied compensation as a result of the rule could now make a claim.

Who can claim compensation?

Anyone who has suffered domestic abuse between the first criminal injuries scheme being launched in 1964 and 1 October 1979 can now claim compensation for the wrongdoings committed against them. The abuse may have come from a parent, step-parent, grandparent, sibling or other family member or friend. Even those that have never previously claimed are encouraged to submit their claim for compensation.

How much compensation will I receive?

The amount of compensation you will receive largely depends on the severity of the abuse, the length of time the victim suffered, and whether the abuse has triggered psychological trauma. For example, compensation for molestation above clothing can award survivors of upwards of £2,000 whereas penetrative rape assaults can be much higher – between £11,000 to £20,000.

Whilst abuse can trigger temporary or permanent mental health conditions, the CICA states that you can only claim for this component if you have been diagnosed by a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist. If you have been diagnosed with short-term PTSD for example, you could receive up to £13,500. Alternatively, if your condition is likely to affect the rest of your life you could receive up to £22,000 in compensation.

It is important to note that you can only receive one large sum of compensation; you will not be compensated for both the abuse itself and also any mental health conditions. You will be compensated with the higher award from the two categories.

Get in touch

If you or someone you know has been affected by the unjust nature of the Same Roof rule, we strongly encourage you to get in touch with our team of dedicated solicitors at [email protected]. We understand that compensation can not undo what happened, but it can help to alleviate some of the financial pressures should you need to take time off work or seek therapy.