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Child Sex Abuse Victim Receives Apology After ‘Consent’ Ruling

Child Sex Abuse Victim Receives Apology After ‘Consent’ Ruling

A victim of child sexual abuse, known only as HND, has received an apology from the government’s victim compensation agency after it previously ruled that he had consented to his abuse. HND’s 21 abusers were found guilty of several charges, including sexual activity with a child and causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

Human rights charity Liberty reported that the man has now been informed that he is eligible for compensation after his application had originally been rejected by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). An appeal against the decision was scheduled for late November, but CICA chief executive Carole Oatway has now apologised to the victim in writing. She said:

“I am firmly of the view that you are eligible for compensation. It is clear that advantage was taken of your age and vulnerability for the purpose of sexual abuse.”

She added: “I can only imagine how traumatic your experiences have been and, although the past cannot be erased, I hope that my apology and the compensation you will receive can help you move forward in a positive way.”

Survivor’s father: “It should never have come to this”

HND’s father approved CICA’s decision but criticised their previous handling of the case.

He said: “It should never have come to this. Having spent years coming to terms with what happened to him and that it was not his fault, my son was told by a state body that it was.”

HND, who suffered from mental health issues following his abuse, had said that he would have found providing evidence at the appeal hearing highly distressing, but would have done so in order to fight CICA’s original ruling.

Abuse triggered dramatic changes in victim

HND’s father described the impact that the abuse had on his son. He said: “The abuse triggered dramatic changes in HND’s personality and resulted in him self-harming . . . He was always very loving and suddenly he was seeing us as the enemy. He was an entertainer, full of good humour. That went and he became withdrawn. It was just like a complete personality change.”

He added: “We’re very, very proud of him. He’s fought his way back from a position where we thought we might lose him, literally. But a set of experiences like that … robbed him of time. Even now he will occasionally have panic attacks.”

Thousands of child sex abuse victims denied compensation

Several charities, including Barnardos, Victim Support and Liberty, said that a Freedom of Information request had revealed that approximately 700 child victims of sexual abuse had been refused compensation since the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme was put in place in November 2012.

A number of similar cases are now being reviewed and CICA may be forced to reverse several of their previous rulings. In response to the case, CICA has issued new guidelines. It said its new guidance would ensure that support was given to adult survivors of child sexual abuse “even where sexual activity appears consensual.”

However, the coalition of charities has called for the entire system to be reviewed, stating that while the new guidelines will help to protect the rights of victims, they can “only interpret a broken scheme.” The Ministry of Justice says similar cases are now being reviewed.

How to make a child abuse compensation claim

IBB Solicitors have been successful in persuading the CICA to change their decision in a so-called “consent” case. If you or your child is a victim of child abuse, you could be entitled to make a compensation for the harm that you have suffered.

If you want to enquire about making a child abuse claim, please contact our No-Win No- Fee child abuse solicitors on 01895 207284 . Alternatively, please email us at PI@ibblaw.co.uk or complete our online form.