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One Rape Victim Changes The Law On Claims Against Attackers For All

By Michelle Duffy     Jan 30, 2008 in Crime
A new rule has been passed by the Land Laws in the UK government meaning that victims of rape could be able to sue their attackers even years after the event. A recent victim tried sued her attacker after he later won £7m on the national lottery
The Law Lords have, this week, voted in favour of a female rape victim who asked for the law to be changed since her attacker later won a jackpot of £7 million on the national lottery.
53 year old convicted rapist, Iorworth Hoare was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilt of raping the 59 year old woman in 1988. The woman, who cannot be named, was living in Leeds, north of the UK when the attack happened. She has always said that the event "ruined her life."
Mrs A pleaded with the authorities to get the law changed after she found that her attacker had played the national lottery game whilst inside prison and landed himself the 7m jackpot. The woman approached the Law Lords and asked for a law to be introduced where a victim in the same circumstance could be able to sue their attacker even after many years had passed. At the time, the law stated that victims could bring a case to court against their attacker so long as it was less than six years. Now the law has changed allowing victims to go passed the original maximum six years and claim against them, thanks to one victim who spoke up.
Perhaps more importantly, it now means that other victims of past rapes and attacks can now come forward and sue their attackers.
This is also good news for those who have been victims in child abuse cases where the law originally stopped them from bringing a case against their abuser after the child had reached age six years passed 18.
Since Mrs A winning the case against her attacker, four other cases have been brought to court and have also seen the victims win. It means now that these victims can now go to a claims court and stand a better chance of receiving compensation. In a way, it is now hoped that the number of rapes may go down as a result of this new rule and make rapists and attackers think twice about attacking especially if they think their victim can now claim compensation against them, even many years later.
Mrs A said this piece this week, via a statement from her solicitor about the change in the law.
"I am both delighted and relieved that I have succeeded in changing the law which will provide others in the future with the hope of achieving justice. It was this, rather than financial gain, that led me to begin this process two years ago."
At the time, Mrs A only got around £5,000 from the Criminal Compensations Board after her ordeal in February 1988. Her attacker, Hoare had been convicted of several attacks spanning over thirty years, meaning he had spent much of his adult life in and out of prison before he attacked Mrs A.
In 2004, he won £7m along with three other winners and now lives in a £700,000 mansion in Northumberland. He had been allowed to win the money since buying a lottery ticket whilst on day release from prison.
Mrs A took the issue to court in 2005 but was turned down for any more compensation by a High Court Judge telling her that the claim was outside her six year limit. The Appeal Court later upheld the case 's original decision.
Support action group, Victim Support said that the law, as much as it was a breakthrough for some victims, it will only be of use to a small number of people. Paul Fawcett of the group told BBC News Website,
"It's very good news for her but the wider significance is questionable because the vast majority of offenders don't have assets to chase. We have long campaigned for a public fund to allow the courts to award compensation, leaving it to the courts to recover assets from the offender and allowing the victim to walk away and put the crime behind them."
Even so, a law for some is better than no law at all and it means that for some victims, their lives can be a little more bearable since their attacks if they have some financial security.
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