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Baroness Blatch: My Lords, perhaps I may intervene on that point. It is not necessary for the Government to speak their mind on what may or may not happen in the future. If enacted, it would be possible under the Bill for the authority to decide. If as it carries out its duties over time it becomes aware that there is a category of injury which should be properly recognised and incorporated in the tariff, there is a proper mechanism for doing so. It would then be for the authority to recommend that to my right honourable friend, who could recommend to Parliament a change in the tariff scheme.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I accept that and am grateful for it. However, would it not have been better if the Bill had recognised that there is no defect—indeed, that there is a positive advantage—in having a tariff scheme which is recognisably real and recognises real differences? Let us hope, as with many of these arguments, that in the future the Government will see the light more clearly than they have in the past. This is not an issue on which I believe your Lordships should take a formal view, and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 5:

Page 2, line 6, at end insert—
("( ) an additional amount of compensation to be paid to a woman to whom a standard amount for rape has been awarded and who has become pregnant as a result of the rape, which amount may be different in the case of each of the following events—
(i) a child born alive which she intends to keep;
(ii) a child born alive which she has given up or intends to give up for adoption;
(iii) the pregnancy has ended in miscarriage;
(iv) the pregnancy has ended in an abortion.").

31 Oct 1995 : Column 1372

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this amendment is different from that which we introduced in Committee when we were concerned about the effects of the criminal injury of rape. In many ways the law relating to rape is still evolving and is unsatisfactory. After all, it became clear only in recent years that under English law rape in marriage is illegal. However, many aspects relating to rape appear in the scheme in an almost medieval form. The scheme refers to the victim's character and conduct, which could well be interpreted by a malign authority—I do not say that the authority will be malign—as meaning that those engaged in the sex industry or in criminal conduct are less entitled to the protection of the law than other women. The fundamental principle behind our approach to injuries resulting from sexual offences should be that all women—and, indeed, all men—are entitled to the protection of the law.

The scheme allows claims to be disqualified because of delays in reporting to the police or claiming compensation. That is the essence of the time-limit argument. It is difficult to see where in the scheme there is adequate recognition of the trauma which arises as a result of sexual abuse, sexual offences or of the fear which the victim may have not only of the offender but of the reaction of the police in reported rape. Those are serious matters and there is plenty of evidence to show that women are afraid of the perpetrator of the offence, of the possible reaction of the police and of what may happen during the course of the trial. I wished to restate those facts of life as regards sexual offences and the effect on the victims of such offences.

The amendment refers to a particular aspect which is inadequately dealt with in the tariff. It is the amount of compensation to be paid to a woman who has been raped. There is provision for a standard amount of compensation for rape and there is a figure for pregnancy as a result of the rape. However, we suggest in the amendment four different outcomes from pregnancy as a result of rape—there may be more—which deserve separate recognition in the tariff.

The first is rape resulting in a child which the woman intends to keep. The second is a child born alive which is given up or intended to be given up for adoption. The third is a pregnancy that has ended in miscarriage; and the fourth is a pregnancy that has ended in abortion. The differences may be traumatic in the case of adoption; they may be financial in the case of a child who is being kept and brought up; or they may be physical in the cases of miscarriage and abortion where the effect on fertility may take a long time to emerge.

Although there are attempts to recognise and provide a flexibility for some of the different outcomes of rape, it seems to us that there is a case for recognising more formally the different outcomes as a result of criminal rape.

Again, this is not an amendment which I wish to push to a vote because it is not necessarily a matter which would have to appear on the face of the Bill although we have to treat it that way in order to have a debate on the matter. I am looking for a recognition by government that there are those different outcomes; that

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they deserve special recognition in the tariff; and that there are very significant financial differences. We are looking for a tariff that accords more closely with reality. I beg to move.

Baroness Blatch: My Lords, perhaps I may say at the outset to the noble Lord that there is no standard amount for rape because the tariff as it is now set out is extremely sensitive to the different situations in which rape may occur.

This amendment considerably extends the provision in the 1990 scheme, which we have carried forward into the new one, whereby if a woman bears a child as a result of rape and decides to keep it an additional £5,000 is paid to her.

As has been widely recognised, we have incorporated many of the elements of the current common law damages scheme in our draft proposals. But I am afraid we must resist novel extensions of the kind put forward here. The rationale for the present position is that a woman who keeps a child in these circumstances is likely to be put to some additional expense which, while not quantifiable in precise terms, ought to receive some tangible recognition. This amendment, as the noble Lord explained, attempts to address the trauma associated with other outcomes of pregnancy following rape. But these outcomes will already be reflected to a degree in the tariff award for the rape itself, since that figure is based on the median award from a wide range of circumstances considered under the 1990 scheme.

Furthermore, where the rape has resulted in mental trauma of the kind covered by the provisions in the tariff scheme for shock, the award would be increased. Indeed, there might be cases where the mental trauma itself attracted the highest award for shock—namely, £20,000. One cannot be wholly definitive. I do not know whether a subsequent situation such as infertility arising as a direct result of the injuries would be a matter for reconsideration by the authority. But certainly rape is a criminal injury and is dealt with very sensitively in the scheme. I believe that trauma also encompasses many of the other aspects referred to by the noble Lord. Therefore, I hope that he will not press the amendment.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, the Minister is right that if you take together the series of references in the tariff to sexual assault and to shock, it may mean that there is a level of flexibility. But of course, that is achieved only by, in effect, shock opting out of the tariff. Shock is dealt with only in the form of note 4 to the tariff which sets out the range of components of shock without actually saying what the tariff band should be.

It is true that there are six different levels of banding for sexual assault ranging from minor indecent assault to non-consensual intercourse. To that extent, the Minister is right to say that there is no standard tariff for rape. Indeed, there are three different payments according to whether there was one or more attacker and whether there are other serious bodily injuries. But that still does not recognise the range of financial effects which occur in the four different cases of pregnancy after rape to which I referred. In all of these amendments the Minister will accept that we are not

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attempting to be destructive or to break away from the tariff and deny the advantages of an enhanced tariff scheme. We are seeking to make the tariff better. I still believe that the tariff is woefully inadequate in the consideration of the effects of pregnancy after rape. I still believe that in the end the tariff scheme will have to recognise the factors to which I have drawn attention in the amendment. I gladly give way to the Minister.

Baroness Blatch: My Lords, perhaps I may correct one assumption which the noble Lord made; that is, that shock is relegated to no more than a note at the end of the tariff. There is an attempt to describe ranges of shock from disabling temporary anxiety right through to permanent mental disorder with awards extending from £1,000 up to £20,000. There is an additional note as to what can be taken into account when considering a shock award.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, that is right but I wanted to spare the House a listing of the very crude distinctions made in the five categories of shock which are allowed: disabling but temporary mental anxiety medically verified; disabling mental disorder confirmed by psychiatric diagnosis with three different time bands; and permanently disabling mental disorder confirmed by psychiatric prognosis. When those criteria are applied to the huge range of forms of shock which are set out in the note, it will be recognised that we are at a very early stage as regards including adequate recognition of shock in the tariff. The Government recognise that because they know and have acknowledged—I give them credit for it—that the Criminal Law Revision Committee is still working on the issue and will make recommendations which I imagine will have to be incorporated in the tariff. I appreciate that we are not there yet.

With this simple and obvious amendment, we are hoping to anticipate what might come from the deliberations of the Criminal Law Revision Committee. I have put the issue on record in Hansard. That is the best we can hope to do at the moment. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

4.45 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 6:

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