A government agency has apologised for refusing a child sex abuse victim compensation after initially ruling that he had ‘consented.’
The young man now 20, had been abused from the age of 13, and was told by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority that he would not receive any money because he had not been the victim of a crime.
He had been groomed online and abused by 21 men, who have since been convicted.
The Telegraph reports:
His family’s appeal for compensation was rejected and an appeal was due to be heard later this month.
But the agency has now revised its position just days ahead of the planned appeal.
The young man, who cannot be named, had already prepared to give evidence in order to prove he was a victim.
Liberty, who was supporting the case, said CICA’s CEO Carole Oatway wrote to him apologising for the way his case was handled.
The letter said: “I am firmly of the view that you are eligible for compensation. It is clear that advantage was taken of your age and vulnerability for the purpose of sexual abuse.”
His father said: “We are thankful CICA has changed its stance – but it should never have come to this.
“Having spent years coming to terms with what happened to him and that it was not his fault, my son was told by a state body that it was.”
Debaleena Dasgupta, a lawyer for Liberty, who was supporting the appeal, said: “It was only at the 11th hour they conceded these appeals.”
In July five charities criticised the Government agency for denying compensation to child sex abuse victims who they said had consented.
Under the law children under 16 cannot be deemed to have consented, unless they are over 13 and the defendant could reasonably have believed they were 16.
But the agency used different guidelines, allowing it to argue that some victims had consented in fact and were therefore not victims of crime.