Greater Manchester’s Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner has branded research findings revealing rape victims are being denied compensation as ‘unacceptable’.
Speaking as a study published today shows that many victims are losing out on criminal injuries compensation because narrow rules penalise them for having convictions for minor offences, Tony Lloyd said:
“Rape is life-changing, leaving victims feeling vulnerable, distraught and alone. We need to offer our compassion and support to help them rebuild their lives, yet this study has exposed further flaws in the criminal injuries compensation system – flaws that are inevitably causing vulnerable victims undue distress and confusion. While compensation cannot erase the scars of what has happened them, it can be a helping hand at a dark and difficult time. Therefore it is unacceptable that victims are being denied compensation because of minor convictions.
“The system needs to be designed with the needs of victims at its heart. I urge ministers to review the criminal injuries compensation process to remove any unnecessary obstacles and, where possible, backdate claims from victims and survivors.”
While the government has ruled that compensation should not be paid to applicants who have criminal records, it does allow discretion where the offences were minor. This means minor offences should not be automatically used to reject claims, however the study, by Dr Olivia Smith of Anglia Ruskin University, suggests this happens regularly.