Alliance Justice Minister Naomi Long MLA today announced the removal of the same household rule contained within the Northern Ireland Criminal injuries Compensation Scheme 2009.
This change in legislation allows access to the scheme for victims of abuse and violent crime who were previously prevented from applying for criminal injuries compensation because of the long-standing rule.
The same household rule applied from 1 March 1969 to 30 June 1988 to all victims of abuse or a crime of violence inflicted by a family member living under the same roof. The legislation was amended in 1988 but at that time was not made retrospective.
Naomi Long said: “The same household rule was unfair and I recognise the impact this had on all victims whose applications were refused simply because they lived with their attacker.
"Amending the same household provision will bring the Northern Ireland Criminal Injuries Scheme into line with the GB Scheme in relation to treatment of victims of same household abuse and allow more victims of crime to access compensation.
"The payment can never fully compensate for the injuries suffered, but it is recognition of the pain and suffering of victims who experienced abuse and violence perpetrated by members of their own household.”
The removal of the same household rule from the Northern Ireland Criminal Injuries Scheme also ensures compliance with a ruling made by the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland in November 2018.
New and past applicants refused an award under the pre-1988 same household rule will still need to meet all the remaining eligibility criteria within the 2009 Scheme.
The time limit for applications to be received is two years from the passing of this amendment.
Further information on applying for compensation can be found at: www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/compensation-criminal-injuries