Welcome to another week.

A petition launched by Women Against Rape (WAR) has asked the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) to abolish all discriminatory obstacles and rules in claims by victims of sexual assault. WAR argues that these rules disproportionately affect female victims of rape and sexual violence.

Many of the women making claims reported they had been raped and sexually assaulted as children.

The petition will be formally announced on December 15, 2021 at an open online event.

Figures show that almost 1,000 claims for compensation by people who reported they had been sexually assaulted were denied by CICA, many of whom say their claims were rejected because of minor rule breaking such as sex work and unpaid TV licenses.

Data from the Ministry of Justice shows that 74% of convictions for TV licence fee evasion in 2019 were made against women, while almost a third of all women’s criminal convictions are for not having a licence. These convictions have been called into question by experts, who say they are unnecessary and unfairly penalise women living under the poverty line.

The press release for the launch says the current rules have deprived 895 sexual assault victims of any compensation in the five years up to 2020, and that one half to two-thirds have been assaulted as children.

The release adds that a further 331 claimants were subjected to a reduction in compensation and that while many women have asked WAR for support, some have been too traumatised to consider appealing CICA’s rulings.

The event’s panel includes several women who have experienced CICA’s compensation system including a woman who brought a legal challenge which led to a review of CICA’s rules.

The body was asked to amend its Victim Strategy to, among other things, ensure that a victim’s claim was not “automatically rejected in circumstances where an applicant’s criminal convictions are likely to be linked to their sexual abuse as a child.”

However the current rules do not go far enough to protect sexual assault victims who are still unfairly discriminated against through CICA’s compensation scheme, according to WAR.

Anyone interested in attending the event, which takes place on 15 December 2021, from noon to 1pm, can register here.

The petition can be accessed and signed here.

Many thanks to Legal Action for Women for alerting us to this development.

If you have been affected by sexual assault you can contact WAR on Tel: 020 7482 2496, Email: war@womenagainstrape.net and Twitter @Againstrape.