C asked the SPSO to review the council's decision on their crisis grant application. C applied for money for food and utilities after their money was stolen when they were assaulted by their ex-partner.
The council declined the application on the basis that C did not report the incident to the police and they could not verify what happened.
We reviewed the council's file and spoke with C. C explained that they did not report the theft to the police as they did not want to make the situation worse with their ex-partner, who has a history of domestic abuse. They reported the assault as this was witnessed by others and the ex-partner would not necessarily know that it was C who reported it. This was not true of the theft, which was known only to C. We noted that C had already received three awards in the last 12-month period which is the usual maximum allowed. However, we were satisfied that the conditions for an exceptional award were met. We assessed that all other stages of the decision making process were passed and instructed the council to make an award. We provided the council with feedback on the inquisitorial process, following the decision making steps, their decision letters and notes and the purpose of a first tier review.