Theresa May’s government won’t compensate children who were raped. It says they ‘consented’ to the abuse

Theresa May sexual abuse of children
Steve Topple

Children as young as 12 who are survivors of rape and sexual assault are being refused compensation by the government. The grounds for its denial in some cases? That the children ‘consented’ to their abuse.

It’s your own fault

A group of five charities submitted a Freedom of Information request (FOI) to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). And it revealed that CICA has refused to compensate over 700 children who had been raped or sexually assaulted. Even when the perpetrators of the crimes had been jailed. The group of charities says that, in some cases, CICA told survivors it was because they had consented to their rape or sexual assault.

The Guardian reports that Barnardo’s, Victim Support, Liberty, Rape Crisis, and the National Working Group (NWG) have written to Justice Secretary David Lidington, demanding he reviews CICA guidelines.

Victim blaming

When giving evidence to the government’s Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (CSA Inquiry), Barnardo’s said [pdf p2] the CICA policy:

differentiates between consent ‘in fact’ and consent as stated by the law… In the case of the young person that applied for compensation, [it] was denied because CICA stated that ‘In [the claimant’s] case it appears she willingly entered into a sexual relationship with [the] alleged offender’… We are very worried that CICA’s policy goes against consideration of consent in law…

Additionally, CICA’s view on consent appears to lack understanding about sexually abusive and exploitative relationships. In such relationships, the victim may appear to ‘consent’… yet in such situations the abuser will have carefully groomed and manipulated the young person into believing that their relationship and abuse is normal. This grooming process is often so carefully carried out that the young person is unaware they are a victim. This does not mean that the young person is not in fact a victim…

We are also concerned that CICA’s apparent lack of understanding on the issue of sexual abuse and exploitation can cause distress to young people who have been the victims of these crimes.

When ‘rape’ isn’t ‘rape’

As The Guardian reported:

In one example, a gang of older men were jailed for 30 years after being convicted of raping and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl. Her case was taken up by Victim Support; she was denied compensation by CICA on the grounds that ‘she had not been the victim of non-consensual sexual acts’.

She was devastated and left with the feeling that she was somehow responsible for the abuse she had suffered, the charity said.

Disgusting

The Canary contacted CICA for comment but it failed to respond.

The attitude of CICA, and the government more broadly, is staggering. It’s traumatic enough that children have to go through the unimaginable torture of rape and sexual abuse. But to then have the government body that’s supposed to defend you saying, at best, ‘Well – it’s your own fault, really’, is a national outrage. The Conservative government must heed these charities’ demands and change the rules by which CICA is governed. Quickly.

Get Involved!

– If you, or someone you know, need to talk, call Childline on 0800 1111.

– If it is a medical emergency, or someone’s life is at risk, dial 999.

– Support YoungMinds, the voice for young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

– Volunteer with Childline.

Featured image via YouTube

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed