Murder, parental responsibility and compensation
In this article we look at ‘Jades Law’ along with a child’s entitlement to CICA compensation for murder of a parent.
The Justice Secretary recently announced plans to introduce ‘Jade’s Law’ through amendments to the Victims and Prisoners Bill. Under this legislation, any parent who murders their partner or ex-partner, who they share children with, will automatically have their parental responsibility suspended upon sentencing. This applies to individuals who have been convicted for murder or voluntary manslaughter and will last for their time in detention. However, an automatic exemption applies to domestic abuse victims who kill their abuser.
Under current law (November 2023), the bereaved must consult the killer for decisions concerning matters affecting their children such as health, education, and travel. In order to restrict the killer’s parental responsibility, the bereaved must go through the family court, but this can be time consuming and distressing for the family. Under Jade’s Law, the automatic suspension of parental responsibility means that the parent will no longer be able make decision concerning key elements of the child’s life.
Jade’s Law arises out of the case of Jade Ward who was murdered by her former partner after he stabbed and strangled her whilst their four children were sleeping. Jade’s killer was given a custodial sentence and Jade’s parents have cared for their children ever since. An online petition received in excess of 130,000 signatures which triggered a parliamentary debate, and after Jade’s family’s tireless campaigning the law is being changed to better protect children.
The murder of a partner or ex-partner also raises issues in relation to compensation under the government’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). Under the scheme children of the victim are eligible to claim a bereavement payment and a funeral payment. Additional compensation can be claimed where the child is under 18 and dependent on the deceased for parental services. They may also be eligible to receive a dependency payment where they were financially or physically dependent on the deceased.
Children under 18 will need to be represented in any legal claim by an adult, which is something we can easily arrange.
If you or a loved one has been affected by issues raised in this article and would like a specialist lawyer to assess whether there is an entitlement to claim CICA compensation for murder of a parent, then please contact our free helpline and our specialist lawyers can talk you through your options in confidence.
Call our free CICA helpline on 0333 888 0446 or send us an email.