To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he has taken to ensure that victims of child sexual exploitation are not refused compensation as a result of criminal convictions obtained during the period in which those victims were abused.
11 February 2020
The Ministry of Justice is committed to ensuring every victim gets the compensation to which they are entitled.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme states that if an applicant has an unspent conviction which resulted in a community or custodial sentence, an award of compensation cannot be made. This is in no way intended to diminish the fact that applicants with unspent criminal convictions may have been victims of serious crimes. This rule exists as these applicants may have caused distress, loss or injury to another person through the offence for which they were convicted.
A review of the Scheme is underway, looking at its eligibility rules and requirements around decision-making. The review will take account of the findings and recommendations of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, which continues to investigate compensation, redress and support for victims. It will also consider the difficulties faced by some when applying for compensation, highlighted by the previous Victims’ Commissioner in the report, Compensation without re-traumatisation.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority has strengthened its decision-making process on applications relating to child sexual exploitation. The Authority has also improved staff training and guidance to help get decisions right the first time.