Stop denying compensation to victims of sexual assault
Women Against Rape invites you to the launch of its petition
On Wednesday 15 December 2021, 12noon-1pm, join us at an online press conference to launch this new petition. Media and non-media welcome.
For more information contact: Women Against Rape 020 7482 2496
Victims of rape or sexual assault are being denied compensation just because we have a minor conviction.
This outrageous discrimination has deprived 895 sexual assault victims of any compensation in the five years up to 2020 – half to two-thirds had been assaulted as children. A further 331 had their compensation reduced.
|Legal challenges to end the punishment of rape victims for unrelated criminal convictions have led to a court ruling ordering the Ministry of Justice to review their policy on criminal convictions (see Kim below).
It is insulting and deeply biased for anyone to be considered undeserving because of unrelated actions often later in life and resulting from trauma.
Many victims have come to WAR for support to overturn this injustice. Others are too traumatised to even consider appealing.
|Speakers at the event include:
· KIM: Sexually assaulted at the age of eight by a male teacher at school. She took the legal challenge that prompted the court order to the government to review CICA’s treatment of criminal convictions. (https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2021/2248.html). She tried to report to the police three times and on the third attempt they took action. The attacker was finally jailed 27 years later, which had left him free to assault others. In her thirties, suffering with Complex PTSD and a personality disorder, sometimes suicidal, Kim had to endure long NHS waiting lists to get help. She applied to CICA but they refused any award as she had been convicted of threatening behaviour and given a “Community Order” when her employer refused to pay her wages! She is furious and said, “I didn’t have this criminal conviction when I was 8.”
· EMMA: Raped and pimped out by her grandfather for seven years 2005-2012 (she was aged 11-18). She was denied compensation. After reporting it at age 18 he pleaded guilty to raping her and “arranging child prostitution” and was sentenced to 22 years. Emma struggled to cope, and was self-medicating with alcohol and drugs. Within weeks, after taking pills and drink she got into a fight and she was convicted of Common Assault. A week later she was suicidal and was sectioned. She was arrested in hospital and given a "Community Order". CICA refused any award because of this unspent conviction.
· KATIE: Raped by a taxi driver when she was 21. Her compensation was reduced. The investigation and file preparation were so shambolic that the judge ordered a review and the man was acquitted. Katie was scared to use taxis after that. The police stopped her while driving and found her slightly over the drink-drive limit, having taken one glass of wine. She applied for compensation, and was awarded the standard £11,000 for rape, reduced by 30% for her criminal conviction. We helped her appeal and the reduction was cut to 10%.
· TONI: together with another victim, she took a private prosecution against a serial rapist and won. He was sentenced to 11 years, but her compensation was slashed because she was a sex worker. A statement from her will be read.
|Overwhelmingly the crime of rape is committed against women, so the sexist standard applied to the treatment of women/girl victims also affects men/boy victims of male rape.
Every woman faces institutional sexism and other discrimination from the authorities, especially if we were children when we were attacked, are women of colour, immigrant/refugee, single mothers, sex workers, low income, have a disability, and/or are related to our attacker.
No matter what terrible tragedies victims have suffered, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) takes no account of circumstances. Only if the victim’s conviction was ‘spent’, does CICA have the discretion to reduce compensation rather than refuse it altogether. The Rehabilitation Act 1974 laid out that criminal convictions with a prison sentence of less than 30 months become ‘spent’ after a period of time.
No criminal record can justify denying compensation to victims of rape or sexual assault. The discrimination is even more shocking given that women’s most common convictions are for “crimes of poverty”, such as shoplifting, non-payment of a TV licence, minor fraud, drink or drugs.
Compensation is often the only available official acknowledgement of the violent crime we have suffered. Rape has practically been decriminalised and only 1.4% are prosecuted. To be denied compensation after years of trauma made worse by being denied justice is intolerable and treats victims as worthless.,
REGISTER HERE for the event
SIGN THE PETITION and help circulate
WAR’s campaign demands that all discriminatory obstacles and rules be abolished. See more at www.womenagainstrape.net/compensation
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