Howe+Co welcomes this news this morning that the Criminal Injuries and Compensation Authority (CICA) is to act on the representations made by Howe+Co and other organisations, and amend its policy in relation to the age of consent with children.
Previously the CICA had refused claims for compensation from some children who had been victims of sexual abuse. The CICA had asserted that the children consented to sexual assault and rape as defined by law, including where children had been abused by groups of men. This resulted in victims being denied compensation even after their abusers had been jailed.
David Enright, partner at Howe+Co, said:
“This change marks a major step forward for victims of child sexual abuse. We have been making submissions to theInquiry and to the CICA on this matter for a number of months, and the change has come about through the dedication and determination of Howe+Co’s Core Participants, who have fought for this injustice to be corrected.”
Howe+Co has made oral and written submissions on this matter to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse on numerous occasions since February, and to the CICA directly.
David Enright wrote to the Chair of the Inquiry in February,asking her to make an urgent recommendation that the CICA approach to consent be moved into line with the legal definition that everyone else understands, and raised this a number of times in person and in writing since.
Other organisations including Liberty also made submissions to the Ministry of Justice, after Howe+Co briefed Liberty in relation to the issue.
Going forward, this change in policy will affect hundreds if not thousands of survivors of child sexual abuse.
Howe+Co will continue to campaign for truth, justice and accountability for all victims of sexual abuse through its representation of a significant portion of the survivor Core Participants in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
If you have been a victim of child abuse, you can contact our specialist team on 020 8840 4688.