20 April 2021

A change has been introduced in relation to applying for Criminal Injuries Compensation.

The Northern Ireland Assembly passed an amendment to the Compensation Scheme on 9th June 2020 to remove the restriction in place surrounding ‘members of the same household’ for those who suffered abuse between 1st March 1969 and 30th June 1988.

So what exactly does this mean?

Well, the ‘same household’ clause has now been removed which allows access to the Scheme for victims of abuse and violent crime within the above-mentioned time frame, who were previously ineligible for applying as they had lived with their abuser. It was recognised by the NI Assembly that this longstanding rule was unfairly impacting those victims whose applications were refused, on the basis that they lived under the same roof as their perpetrator.

This change has brought Northern Ireland in line with the Scheme currently operating in Great Britain and will now allow more victims to be compensated for the abuse they were subjected to, provided they meet the eligibility requirements.

The time limit for new applications for victims of abuse, after 1st March 1969, who resided with their abuser and applications for those who were previously refused due to the ‘same household’ rule, is two years from 9th June 2020 when the amendment to the Scheme was passed.

Our Litigation Associate Jennifer Young commented: “We welcome this much needed change to the rules of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme which had unfairly excluded victims of violent crimes from receiving compensation because the perpetrator was a member of their household.”

Applications to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme are usually made by Victim Support NI on behalf of victims of abuse and further information can be found on their website.

A positive change for Northern Ireland!