Catholic churches all around the world have been accused of sex scandals, including the Vatican, which has allegedly paid an astonishing $4 billion since 1950 to settle sexual abuse claims. Far too often these stories involve priests taking advantage of their positions of authority in order to sexually abuse people, often children.
More recently, the UK government and the Catholic church have come under public scrutiny for claiming that victims of child sexual abuse “consented” to their rapes in order to avoid compensating the victims. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) establishes which victims get compensated, and they do so by determining whether or not the victim gave consent, even if the victim is a child well under the legal age limit.
The Telegraph reported last month that, according to CICA, “A victim can consent in fact even though in law they may be deemed not to have consented.” That’s right, this government loophole can be used to claim that even though a child may be under the legal age limit, they can still provide consent.
Legal Loophole Preventing Child Sex Victims From Being Compensated
To give you a better picture of how this works, one case that was explained by the charity Victim Support involved a 12-year-old girl who was led into the woods and sexually assaulted by a 21-year-old man while she was intoxicated.
Interestingly enough, despite the fact that the man pled guilty to having sex with a minor, she still wasn’t compensated because she allegedly “gave consent” by “voluntarily” going into the woods with him.
“No child ever gives their ‘consent’ to being abused, and the increased use of this line of defence, although still quite rare, is worrying,” said Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England. “I have contacted the Ministry of Justice previously and again recently about this issue and the Government should look urgently at what can be done to tackle it.”