Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Law Clinic in Fight for Abused Sisters

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Law Clinic in Fight for Abused Sisters

Article excerpt

TWO sisters who were abused by the same man are fighting for a change in a law which means only one of them is able to claim compensation.

The Law Clinic at Teesside University is leading a legal challenge to overturn what is commonly known as the "same roof rule".

This means compensation is not paid if the injury happened before October 1, 1979, and, at the time of the incident, the victim and the abuser lived together as members of the same family.

The rule was designed to prevent the assailant benefiting from any compensation awarded. It was abolished on October 1, 1979, but victims prior to that date cannot claim retrospective compensation.

Teesside University Law Clinic, a student-run legal advice service, has launched a legal challenge on behalf of one victim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.

The victim, who is not being identified to protect her anonymity, has been left angry and hurt by the rule after their abuser died last year, and they then told police about the abuse they had suffered.

Both were abused by the same man over a period of time - one before the abolishment of the rule in 1979 and one afterwards.

She said: "It took a great deal of courage to report these crimes and it has been an extremely painful process for us.

"To then find out that the rules state that only one of us is worthy of compensation, because the abolition of the same roof rule in 1979 was not made retrospective, was like a kick in the teeth to both of us.

"My sister is so angry at this flawed system that she has not yet decided whether she even wants to make a claim. I feel extremely upset that after all we have been through, and are still going through, as the damage done is hard to erase, that we have this further battle to fight."

She added: "The same roof rule not being made retrospective is absurd and wrong. My sister and I both suffered the same abuse, at the same age, at the hands of the same man and are both still suffering the long-term effects of that abuse today. …

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