Awards

Robert Kaye made this Freedom of Information request to Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel,

I would like any information held by CICA on awards by CICA to purported victims of rape or sexual assault, where the purported victim has subsequently been convicted of an offence (such as perjury or perverting the course of justice) in relation to an allegation of rape or sexual assault. In particular, I would like to request any information held by CICA on
- awards made to women or men who have subsequently been convicted of such an offence
- awards to women or men which have been recovered following that person's conviction for making a false allegation
- the number of awards which have been withheld because of a suspicion or belief that the claim is false
- cases where an application for compensation is made but the alleged victim is subsequently convicted of making a false claim.

I am not seeking personal data. However, where a claimant has been convicted and named in open court, I would like to receive details and in view of their conviction believe that the balance of the public interest would lie in making this information available.

Yours faithfully,

Robert Kaye

Over, Darren \(ARU\), Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel

Freedom of Information Request FOI/68433/10

Data Access & Compliance Unit
Information Directorate
Zone 6 B
Post point 6.25
102 Petty France
London
SW1H 9AJ

T 020 3334 3251
F 020 3334 2245
E [email address]

www.justice.gov.uk

17-DEC-10 Our Ref:FOI/68433/10

Dear Robert Kaye,

SUBJECT: Freedom of Information Request

Thank you for your correspondence of December 16, 2010, in which you
asked for information about awards by CICA to purported victims of
rape or sexual assault under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)
from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

You will receive a response from us by January 17, 2011. Your request
has been passed to the appropriate business unit within the MoJ, and
they will write to you with their decision by this date.

The FOIA does provide a number of exemptions. A qualified exemption
requires that before relying on it we must consider the public interest
test. If the information you have requested is covered by a qualified
exemption(s) under FOIA, the Department is allowed to take longer than
20 working days to respond. This is because in such circumstances we are
required to consider the public interest issues when deciding whether or
not to disclose the information requested.

If more time is needed to consider the public interest issues under a
qualified exemption(s), we will write to you and inform you of the
revised date you can expect to receive a response to your request.

If you have any queries regarding this request please do not hesitate to
contact us. Please quote ref: FOI/68433/10 in all future correspondence.

Yours sincerely,

Darren Over
(Sent on behalf of Caroline Banjo)
Data Access and Compliance Unit

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Garry Cairns,

Dear Mr Kaye,

Thank you for your email of 16 December 2010 in which you asked for
information relating to alleged victims of rape or sexual assault.

The Ministry of Justice passed your request to me because I have
responsibility for answering requests relating to the Criminal Injuries
Compensation Authority (CICA). Your request has been handled under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

You asked for statistical information on applications from victims of
rape. We do not have an award for rape. We consider compensation under the
terms of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (the Scheme), which is
set by Parliament and pays awards based on the injuries someone sustains
rather than the crime of which they were a victim. The Scheme does allow
us to pay awards, after investigation, under the injury type 'victim of
non-consensual penile penetration of the vagina, and/or anus and/or
mouth'. Where your request stated rape or sexual assault, I have therefore
based my search on awards made under this injury type.

You asked for the number of awards for rape or sexual assault made to an
applicant who has subsequently been convicted of an offence in relation to
the allegation of rape or sexual assault. You also asked for the number of
cases where an application for compensation is made but the alleged victim
is subsequently convicted of making a false claim. Once a claim is
concluded we do not continue to monitor an applicant's criminal record as
this would be impracticable. The police may contact us to tell us they are
investigating a false allegation and that a previous claim may therefore
have been fraudulent. If the police tell us about such a fraud, we will
seek repayment because a fraud against us is a fraud against the taxpayer.
Since this information is not relevant to our own decision-making,
however, we do not hold it in an easily retrievable form but only on our
paper case files. Providing you with the information on the scale that you
have requested would therefore require one of our case officers to
manually check each of our case files (we deal with around 60,000
applications each year).

Section 12 of the FOIA makes provision for public authorities to refuse
requests for information where the cost of dealing with them would exceed
the appropriate limit, which for non departmental public bodies is set at
£450. This represents the estimated cost of one person spending 2.5
working days in determining whether the body holds the information,
locating, retrieving and extracting the information.

As your request is widely framed, it will take us significantly in excess
of 2.5 working days to determine appropriate material within the scope of
your request, and locate, retrieve and extract that information. It is,
however, logical to suggest that the number of awards we seek repayment of
accurately represents the number of cases where we have been made aware of
such a fraud.

You asked for the number of awards for rape or sexual assault which have
been recovered following the applicants conviction for making a false
allegation. Fewer than ten awards have been reclaimed under these
circumstances. Where the number of awards is under ten we do not provide
the exact number of claims. This is because we need to protect the
information we hold and ensure that if information is published it does
not lead to the identification of one of our applicants.

You requested the number of awards for rape or sexual assault which have
been withheld because of a suspicion or belief that the claim is false.
Our decisions are based on the evidence available in each specific case
rather than any form of suspicion or belief. We can refuse compensation
if, on the balance of probabilities, there is not enough evidence to show
the applicant was the blameless victim of a violent crime. This is, of
course, quite different from suggesting that no such crime took place. Our
electronic records would provide the number of claims which were refused
on these grounds. This figure, however, would include victims of any age
whose claims were based on any form of sexual assault. Please let me if
know if this figure will suffice and, if so, what time period you would
like the figure for.

I am sorry that on this occasion I have not been able to be of more
assistance.

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the
right to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be
submitted within 2 months from the date of receipt of the response to your
original letter and should be addressed to:

Avril Watkins
Legal Advisor
CICA
Tay House
300 Bath Street
Glasgow
G2 4LN

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water House
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Yours sincerely,

Nicole Girvan
Communications officer

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
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