IICSA, the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches and Redress

In this our second blog comparing the recent reports published by IICSA into the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches we look at redress and accountability.

IICSA has reviewed the varying approaches taken with respect to redress across the Anglican Church and Roman Catholic Church, looking at how victims are compensated financially in addition to emotional support and apologies given.

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IICSA publishes investigation report into the Roman Catholic Church

This week IICSA published its investigation report into the Roman Catholic Church (the Church). The report aims to examine the extent of institutional failings by the Church in England and Wales to protect children from child sexual abuse and examine the Church’s current safeguarding regime. The report draws on evidence from the Inquiry’s three case studies and the final public hearing held in October and November 2019.

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Lambeth Redress Scheme – Update as of April 2020

The Lambeth Children’s Homes Redress Scheme (LRS) was launched on 2 January 2018 and can accept applications up to 1 January 2022.

The LRS provides survivors of physical and/or sexual and/or psychological abuse (whilst resident in a Lambeth Children’s Home) with an alternative dispute mechanism for obtaining compensation without having to go through the Courts.

It covers all Children’s Homes which were run by Lambeth Council and applies to all residents dating back to the 1930s until the Homes were closed in the 1980 and 90s.

Since the LRS opened a total of 1,479 applications have been made.

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Codeword scheme for domestic abuse victims

The Government recently hosted a virtual Hidden Harms Summit in Downing Street with the aim of supporting victims of abuse during the current health crisis.

The Summit was hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and attendees included representatives from the National Crime Agency, National Police Chiefs’ Council, victims’ commissioners and leading domestic abuse and children’s charities.

The focus on the summit was to put measures in place to support victims of crimes such as domestic abuse, sexual violence, child sexual abuse and modern slavery.

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The Windrush Compensation Scheme pays out £360,000 within first year but still facing serious criticism

The Windrush Compensation Scheme opened in April 2019 following an outcry over the treatment of British citizens from the Caribbean who faced deportation and the loss of access to public services after being wrongly swept up in an immigration crackdown.

In order for a payment to be made under the scheme, an applicant must first accept the offer made. If an applicant is unhappy with the offer made he/she can request a free internal review. If an applicant still does not agree with the outcome, the applicant can request a further review from the Independent Adjudicator.

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‘Zoombombing’

Around 60 children were subjected to footage of child sex abuse, while they were taking part in a fitness class on Zoom, on Tuesday 5 May. The Zoom call had been hacked by someone who streamed the video of the abuse into the session, in a practice known as ‘Zoombombing’. The class had been organised by a sports club in Plymouth and it is believe the hacker gained access as a result of the group’s login details having been published on public internet forums.

Devon and Cornwall police officers are working with Plymouth City Council’s social care team to identify all those who saw the footage, and may have been affected by seeing the images, so as to provide them with any advice or support, as required.

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Limitation and sexual abuse (England & Wales)

There has been a recent flurry of decisions on limitation in the context of claims for sexual abuse.

Under section 33 of the Limitation Act 1980, there is judicial discretion to disapply the limitation rules in personal injury claims.  The judge should only exercise such discretion in favour of claimants if a fair trial is still possible: the judge will look at the reasons for the delay, the cogency of the evidence, and whether any detriment to the defendant prevents a fair trial.

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Consent: The difference in approach in crime and tort

In crime consent is not a defence to an offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, whereas in tort consent is a complete legal defence to the tort of trespass to person.

There are three recent school cases which deal with the issue of consent, two of which highlight the importance of distinguishing between the consent in crime and in tort.

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Vicarious liability – recent decisions in England and Wales

There has been much recent comment on the Supreme Court decisions in the Morrisons and Barclays cases. Two other recent judgments in abuse cases are also worthy of consideration. The cases as demonstrated below show that whilst the scope of various liability has increased over time, the issue is very much assessed on a case by case basis and still has its limits.

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