Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Woman Abused by Brother Wins Payout after 50 Years as 'Cruel' Same-Roof Law Is Scrapped

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Woman Abused by Brother Wins Payout after 50 Years as 'Cruel' Same-Roof Law Is Scrapped

Article excerpt

Byline: Tristan Kirk Courts Correspondent

A WOMAN sexually abused as a child by her half-brother has been awarded compensation almost 50 years later in a landmark legal case brought after a "cruel" law was changed.

The victim endured two years of abuse when she was aged between seven and nine, but had been barred for seeking damages because of a rule excluding claims where an abuser lived in the same household.

The so-called "same roof rule" was finally scrapped in June, and the woman's PS16,500 compensation payout is believed to be the first to be completed since then. Hudgell Solicitors, who helped bring the claim, said thousands of other abuse survivors are now expected to come forward to make claims to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

The woman, who is now in her 50s and remains anonymous as a victim of sexual abuse, urged others to come forward, saying: "Compensation can't change what happened to me or give me my childhood back, but it can bring some closure to it all."

Her lawyer, Tracy Chapman, said the woman would have been turned away if she had tried to claim compensation earlier. She added:"It is expected that thousands of people abused at home as children have been denied compensation they are deserving of prior to the law being changed. We are urging people previously denied to contact us."

The woman, from Ealing, started to be abused in the late 1960s when her halfbrother was aged 18. He preyed on her when they were home alone and at night when their parents were downstairs. "When I was nine I finally found the courage to say what was happening as I knew it was wrong and I feared being left alone with him", she said.

"I looked to my mother for help and support but she just grabbed me by the shoulders and said I was a liar. I was told not to say anything again." She said not being believed by her own mother left her feeling she "had nowhere to go and there was nothing I could have done". …

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