A decision by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) to cut the compensation awarded to a woman who was raped after a night out has been overturned. Unbelievably, she had been told in writing that the reason for the reduction was that evidence showed her “excessive consumption of alcohol was a contributing factor in the incident” and the authority is said to have acknowledged that the rules were applied wrongly in 14 other cases.
As Noble Savage has pointed out, thank goodness someone has now seen sense.
Sandra McNeill, of Campaign to End Rape has has spoken about the attitudes inherent in the original error:
Old prejudices like if a woman is wearing a short skirt or acting in a certain way are still operational…They seem to think that all women should live like middle-class housewives of the 1950s. Nobody lives like that anymore. They are simply silly, silly prejudices… By reducing compensation because a woman has been drinking CICA is operating under those old prejudices.
Meanwhile, Gweem of Me and My Army paints a stark picture of what those mistakes really mean and, on a more disappointing note, Michael White of the Guardian says compensation is “not about blame” but then talks at length about “personal responsibility” and holds up examples of people who wear Rolex watches in rough parts of town and “bladdered stag party boys” who “get stroppy with the consul when they lose their passport in Riga.” (I agree with purplefluff’s comment that no-one actually goes around implying mugging victims were “asking for it” anyway. I’d say holding this up as a more neutral example of personal responsibility just serves to prove the point that it is the perpetrator of a crime who is to blame and not the victim!)
Thanks to Rebekah, Lewis and Jo for alerting us to reports on this story