Rotherham sex abuse survivor told she "consented" to abuse

By Sam Cooper | 15/09/2017

Rotherham sex abuse survivor told she 'consented' to abuse
Sammy Woodhouse

FURIOUS sex abuse survivor Sammy Woodhouse has called for a meeting with justice secretary David Lidington after her claim for compensation was turned down — on the grounds she consented to her abuse.

Sammy, who was groomed and raped as a teenager, was told by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) that she had been not “manipulated” by gang ringleader Arshid Hussain, who was jailed for 35 years last year for 23 offences against multiple victims.

Campaigner Sammy said she had received a “great response” from the public since sharing the letter.

She said: “I wanted Mr Lidington to hear first-hand how the letter made me feel and the impact it’s had on others and continues to have on people across the country.”

She added: “I want to change a number of points in how CICA deal with claims. Children and victims shouldn’t be blamed.”

Sammy, who waived her anonymity in March to campaign for child sex abuse awareness and for victims to be cleared of convictions for offences committed under coercion, is one of almost 700 refused payments by CICA.

While it is illegal to have sexual activity with anyone under 16, the authority does not automatically make payments to all victims.

An original decision explanation letter said: “I am not satisfied that your consent was falsely given as a result of being groomed by the offender.

“The evidence does not indicate that you were manipulated or progressively lured into a false relationship.”

Sammy, who was 14 when she was groomed by Hussain, appealed the decision and was eventually awarded the maximum amount.

But she said the authority was still reviewing her case because of the way it was handled, describing the letter as “like a kick in the stomach”. 

Sammy claimed CICA had also got details of her case wrong in the letter, adding: “They didn’t even have the decency to look into the case properly.

“And when they said I might have consented, that bit reminded me of Ash’s barrister when he said it was only an offence because of my age.”

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion described the situation as “utterly immoral” and said she had asked CICA to review several aspects of its guidelines.

CICA and Mr Lidington’s office referred us a statement he made in the House of Commons earlier this year when he said CICA must re-examine its guidelines to ensure no child missed out on compensation because they had been groomed.

CICA has agreed to carry out an urgent review.

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