Child sexual abuse is a very real issue in the world today and has been an issue for far too long. As you may know, the Vatican alone has already allegedly paid over 4 billion dollars to settle in sexual abuse claims throughout the years but it doesn’t stop there.
In more recent times, it seems both the British authorities and Catholic Church have been using loopholes to avoid having to compensate victims of child sexual abuse and in doing so, they are making it appear as if these children were actually somehow able to consent all the while being underaged. One case mentioned by the Independent actually goes over how a 12-year-old girl who was given alcohol, lured into the woods, and then sexually assaulted by a 21-year-old man. According to authorities, she consented by going into the woods of her own free will. Isn’t that fucked up?
Since the CICA, Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority was launched back in 2012 at least 700 victims of child sexual abuse have had their claims rejected. The CICA, for those who might not be aware, gives out compensation to victims of sexual abuse and other crimes. This organization uses a peculiar set of criteria to decide whether victims are eligible or not for compensation and according to several charities, some children as young as 12 were literally being denied compensation.
Most of those benefiting from this loophole sadly were/are religious groups, private schools, and so forth. Even in grooming situations, these children were being blamed and not compensated as they were in a ‘mutual relationship’ at that point. Below the legal age of consent or not, it really didn’t seem to matter until several groups began speaking out and calling for changes.
That being said, while changes have been made, campaigners warn that existing rules are still not ‘fit for purpose.’ Back in late 2017, the compensation authority released new rules that aimed to squash this whole consent issue. They made claims that their new guidance would allow these victims to receive the support they were entitled to but according to the Independent, these new rules still are not as they should be.
While it is a step towards something better and does pave the way for many who had been denied before to try again it does not fix everything. Children CANNOT consent and this is something that needs to be made clear. Many more changes are needed and while that loophole might be smaller now it is still present.