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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Internet Investigation Report

F.4: Compensation

37. IN-A1 and IN-A2’s mother (IN-H1) told us that the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) refused both her children’s claims for compensation. IN-H1 said that the reason given for the refusal was that online grooming and child sexual abuse and exploitation was not ‘a crime of violence’ because the offences did not take place in physical proximity.[1]

38. The CICA has responsibility for making awards of compensation to those who have been injured by ‘a crime of violence’. There is no legal definition of the term ‘a crime of violence’ but Annex B to the CICA Scheme lists what is and what is not ‘a crime of violence’ for the purposes of the scheme.[2]

39. In September 2018, the Ministry of Justice announced a review of the CICA Scheme which includes consideration of whether the definition of ‘a crime of violence’ should be broadened to include sexually exploitative crimes such as grooming. As Mr Papaleontiou told us, the review would be considering:

how the scheme does or doesn’t appropriately capture injury, in its widest sense … and, again, looking at … the definitions around harm … in terms of what we now understand more richly in terms of the impact of child sexual abuse and exploitation”.[3]

40. The government needs to ensure that the CICA Scheme is fit for the internet age and takes account of the fact that online-facilitated abuse is often a feature of sexual offending against children.

41. In IN-H1’s opinion, the internet companies should pay compensation to victims of online-facilitated child sexual abuse:

it’s their responsibility to look after it, it should be their responsibility to pay compensation for anything that goes wrong, and not only that, it should be their responsibility to get my kids the help and support they need to get through this because, if they created the problem, they should fix it”.[4]

42. Mr Papaleontiou was asked whether the government had considered whether monies raised by any fines imposed by the regulator should be used in whole or in part to compensate victims of online harm. He said that the government had not yet gone as far as considering how the money from fines should be allocated but that those discussions “will rightly need to take place”.[5]

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