Children born as a result of rape to be recognised by the law as victims for the first time

Changes to Victims Law grants ability for children born as a result of rape to pursue legal action against offenders under the proposal 'Daisy Law.'

06 February 2023


Children born as a result of rape to be recognised by the law as victims for the first time

The UK government have announced changes to the Victims Law which will recognise children who were born as a result of rape as victims under the proposal ‘Daisy’s Law’.

England and Wales are among the first countries in the world to make this change to their legislation, recognising the horrific circumstances that these children suffer due to no fault of their own.

The new laws will enable these children to receive specialist care and support from the criminal justice system which they may have otherwise struggled to access. It will also make accessing therapy and counselling sessions for these children easier. The funding has quadrupled since 2010 and the government are committed to delivering better outcomes for victims and survivors of sexual abuse.

The Centre for Women’s Justice (CWJ) found that children born as a result of rape were at risk of suffering serious and long-term harm. They have been campaigning alongside ‘Daisy’ for the government to introduce ‘Daisy’s Law’ into legislation.

Daisy was born as a result of rape in the 1970s and her birth father was not brought to justice until 2021. Daisy was 18 when she found out that her biological mother was raped at 13 years old and although her mother reported it at the time, no conviction was forthcoming.

Using Daisy’s DNA, the police were able to secure a conviction against her biological father, Carvel Bennet. During the criminal proceedings, Daisy had no rights within law to be kept informed of the progress of the investigation or prosecution as she was not recognised as a victim of the crime.

Daisy therefore spoke out publicly to raise awareness in the press of the difficulties she faced by not being recognised as a secondary victim of rape.

The CWJ, who have worked closely with Daisy on this campaign, made a statement regarding Daisy’s experience. “To be told that she was not a victim of an incident which has so defined her life since childhood was extremely distressing”.

Shortly after the announcement was made, Dominic Raab, Deputy Prime Minister said “no child born under these horrific circumstances should be left to suffer alone…our Victims Bill will amplify their voices and boost support for all victims at every stage of the justice system”.

Children conceived by rape can now pursue a criminal complaint in their own right as a ‘secondary victim’ of the crime, which is a new legal status introduced under Daisy’s Law. It is hoped that this will lead to an improvement of historic rape and child sexual offences being recorded.

How easy the process will be for secondary victims to bring legal claims against their offenders is yet to be determined, due to how new the laws are.

Victims and survivors of sexual and physical assault have legal remedies in civil law as well as criminal law. Where an act of sexual assault or sexual abuse causes physical or psychological injuries, victims and survivors of sexual abuse or sexual assault may be able to secure compensation for the assaults themselves and the psychiatric impact of those assaults.

In addition, victims of violent or sexual crimes may be entitled to compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

Victims can make CICA claims for mental or physical injury caused by sexual or physical abuse. CICA applications must normally be brought within 2 years of the incident or in certain circumstances 2 years from the date a report was made to the police.

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