When someone is the victim of a serious crime – like sexual assault or serious violence – the impact can last for years or even a lifetime. In recognition of this, the government allows victims to apply for Criminal Injuries Compensation, which is paid according to a tariff of injuries.
However, since 2012 a rule has been in place which automatically prevents many people with unspent convictions from accessing compensation. There is no discretion in the scheme to distinguish between someone who sustains an injury while committing a crime themselves, and someone whose own conviction is completely unrelated to what they have suffered. Find out more about how the scheme works.
Last year a brave woman called Kim Mitchell successfully took the government to court about this rule, with the High Court ruling that the government must carry out a public consultation on the issue. Kim’s story demonstrates the clear injustice of the rule; having survived childhood sexual abuse and finally seen the perpetrator brought to justice years later, she was denied compensation for the years of trauma she had suffered – because she had an unspent conviction for a minor public order offence.
What you can do
If you agree with us that this rule (called the ‘exclusionary rule’) is unjust, please respond to the government consultation by 5 August. To help you, we’ve put together some key points you may want to include – but please write your response in your own words. If you’ve been personally affected by the exclusionary rule, we encourage you to include how the experience has impacted you.
It’s crucial that we send a clear message to the government that the public believes in fairness, justice and support for all victims – not just those who have never found themselves on the wrong side of the law.
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