Unfortunately, law-abiding people can get caught up in crimes of violence, resulting in them sustaining serious injuries.
Following a violent crime, the police will carry out an investigation and hopefully the perpetrator of the offence will be appropriately punished. Whilst there can be some sense of justice in seeing an offender punished for their acts of violence, the innocent survivor of such crimes should be compensated as recognition of the harm they have suffered.
They should receive compensation and thus if you have been a victim of crime of violence and would like to pursue criminal injuries compensation, or compensation for stab wounds or rape and sexual assault compensation, please contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case. Please call us today on 0333 123 9099 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, please complete our online form.
It is open to the victim to pursue the offender direct for payment of compensation. Regrettably this may not be a realistic option. The victim is unlikely to want to have any contact with the offender. Even if they do, the offender may not have the financial means to make a payment of compensation.
Fortunately, there is another route to compensation that does not involve having contact with the offender. That road to compensation is a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
What is the criminal injuries compensation scheme?
The criminal injuries compensation scheme is designed to compensate innocent victims of violent crime in Great Britain
Who administers the criminal injuries compensation scheme?
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, or CICA, administers the scheme, meaning they decide if applicants (victims of violent crime) are entitled to compensation and, if so, how much compensation they should receive.
What is the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority?
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (“CICA”) is a government organisation that runs a scheme which makes payments to blameless victims of violent crime, in accordance with the Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme.
The current scheme was launched in 2012, although the compensation scheme is open to victims of violent crime which were sustained long before this version of the scheme came into force. This is particularly important for victims of childhood sexual abuse, who have only recently felt able to come forward and report such crimes to the police. There are separate rules relating to those seeking compensation for childhood sexual abuse. Such claims need to be carefully considered when making an application for compensation.
The CICA aim to provide a compassionate, efficient and a fair system to victims of violent crime. They recognise that no amount of money can fully compensate a victim of crime for the injuries they have suffered and its consequences. Any payment is intended as an expression of public sympathy for what was a very distressing experience and, in some cases, life changing injuries.
It is therefore important that where serious and life changing injuries have been sustained as a result of a crime of violence, full and proper compensation is obtained. The CICA scheme is run on a tariff system, which means the award is determined by the nature and severity of the injuries. The highest award the CICA can make is £500,000, but the vast majority of payments of for substantially lower sums. A solicitor will be able to advise you of the likely range of awards for you once they have a full understanding of the extent of the injuries and the consequences upon your health.
The scheme not only makes payments to those who are direct victims of crimes of violence, but also to those who sustain an injury when they try to apprehend an offender where they are injured when preventing a crime.
Payment of compensation is not limited to survivors, but also to relatives of those who sustain injuries that result in death, following a violent crime.
There are many eligibility conditions, so it is important to understand whether you will be entitled to compensation. One important rule is about time. In the majority of cases an application for compensation should be made within 2 years of the violent crime. However, there are exceptions and in some cases it may be possible to recover compensation even when the report to the police, about the crime, is made many years after the offence took place. This is certainly what frequently happens in childhood sexual abuse, where the rule is that the claim for compensation must be made to the CICA within 2 years of the crime being reported to the police.
The rules relating to the timing of an application for compensation can be seen as complex. Although the applications for compensation can be made outside of the time limits prescribed within the scheme rules, such applications will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances and where the evidence presented in support of an application for compensation means it can be determined (as to whether someone is entitled to compensation) without further extensive enquiries by the CICA.
There are other important qualifying conditions for compensation so taking legal advice to maximise your chances of making a successful application for compensation.
Until recently it was the case that the CICA would withhold making payments of compensation to child victims of sexual abuse, on the grounds that they had consented to the sexual relationship. The CICA came under much criticism, following which new guidelines were issued. The guidance from the CICA states, “Even if it appears that the minor expressed consent to the acts in question, it cannot be assumed that this was given because the child wanted to engage in sexual activity, as this may actually be a symptom of the coercive control. The surrounding circumstances are always required to be investigated as these may indicate that the situation was abusive and the consent was not true consent”.
The CICA has also informed their staff, when dealing with applications for compensation arising out of child sexual abuse, that an applicant for compensation may not realise they were being abused at the time of the incident, due to the behaviour of the abuser. It is recognised that victims can be tricked into thinking they are in a loving, consensual relationship, even though the reality is that they are being subjected to the abuser’s control.
What is the criminal injuries compensation procedure?
When an application is made, for compensation, the applicant is required to fully cooperate with enquiries, which includes providing information relating to any other claims (possibly against the offender) that the applicant is making. The applicant must cooperate with the investigation by the CICA and provide such information which the applicant has, or is reasonably available to them. The CICA will obtain medical evidence, to evaluate the nature and severity of the injury, which will influence the final award of compensation.
If successful a payment can be made for the injury sustained, an amount to reflect an inability to work as a result of the criminal injury and, in some cases, medical treatment costs. Although the maximum payment under the scheme is £500,000, the vast majority of awards are for less than £25,000. However, in circumstances where the injury is very serious and the individual is unable to return to work, a very substantial award can be achieved, providing the right evidence is offered to the CICA.
Who is entitled to compensation?
Innocent victims of violent crime are entitled to compensation. If victims of violent crime die as a result of their injuries, their loved ones may be entitled to compensation.
When should I make my application for compensation?
The application for compensation should be made as soon as possible after the incident and, in any event, within two years of the criminal injury being sustained.
If the applicant was a child at the time of the injury, the application must be sent by their 20th birthday, if the incident was reported to the police before the applicant’s 18th birthday; or, if it was reported after the individual’s 18th birthday, the application for compensation must be made within two years after the first date of the report to the police.
Can I claim for injuries sustained in a violent crime many years ago?
The CICA will not pay compensation if the injury was sustained before 1 August 1964.
What types of compensation payment are available?
An award of compensation can be made up of the following:
- payments the injury;
- payments for lost earnings;
- bereavement payments;
- child’s payments;
- dependency payments;
- funeral payments;
- medical expenses;
- aids and equipment expenses.
How is the payment of compensation decided?
The CICA scheme uses a tariff system to determine the payment for the injury. If the value of the injury is below £1000 a payment will not be made.
The maximum payment that may be made under the scheme is £500,000. This includes payment for the injury and other payments, such as loss of earnings and medical treatment costs.
Although the maximum payment is £500,000, the vast majority of payments are under £25,000.
Is compensation paid for all injuries?
Compensation is only payable when the injury has been sustained following a crime of violence.
What is a crime of violence?
A crime of violence involves a physical attack or some act of a violent nature, or one that causes fear of immediate violence, or is as a result of a sexual assault (where the person did not consent) or involves arson or fire raising.
Can I claim compensation if I was injured in a car crash?
The CICA scheme will not pay compensation in respect of injuries resulting from the use of a vehicle, unless the vehicle was used with the intent to cause injury to a person.
If there was no intent to cause injury, it may still be possible to bring a claim against the driver or their insurers.
Can I claim if I was injured by an animal?
The CICA scheme will not pay compensation in respect of injuries resulting from an animal attack, unless the animal was used with the intent to cause injury to a person.
Can I claim if I was injured during a sporting activity?
The CICA scheme will not pay compensation in respect of injuries sustained in the usual course of sporting or other activity.
Who is entitled to an award under the scheme?
A person is eligible for an award if they are ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom, on the date of the criminal injury. They also have to be a British citizen, or a close relative of a British citizen, a national of a member of the European union, a member of the Armed Forces, or an accompanying close relative of a member of the armed forces.
How do the CICA decide if I am entitled to criminal injuries compensation?
Once an application for compensation is made the CICA will conduct an investigation. That will include contacting the police to establish that the victim is a crime of violence. Subject to the CICA being satisfied the victim meets all the qualifying criteria, the CICA will then seek evidence to demonstrate the nature and extent of the injuries as well as special expenses to which the victim may be entitled. The better the evidence presented to the CICA, the more likely the person will receive a higher award.
How long does a criminal injuries claim take to get my compensation?
In 2019 a report (Compensation without re-traumatisation: the Victims’ Commissioner’s Review into Criminal Injuries Compensation) was published based on the experience of individuals who had pursued claims for compensation under the CICA scheme.
It was reported that 32% of applications for compensation received a decision within 6 months, with another 22% receiving a decision between six-months and one-year. Although over half of applications are dealt with within 12 months, the report also recorded that 20% of criminal injuries compensation applications did not settle for over 2 years.
Can I claim compensation from the assailant/offender?
You can make a separate claim against the assailant, who caused your injury, although there is no point in doing so if they do not have the financial means to settle your compensation claim.
Nevertheless, it is often worth exploring the financial assets of the offender, particularly in childhood sexual abuse cases, as it can be the case that individuals do have sufficient assets to meet a claim for compensation from the survivor of the criminal injury, including childhood sexual abuse.
Indeed, it can be more worthwhile in pursuing the individual for compensation because the amount recoverable can often be more than is payable under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. We frequently pursue those who commit sexual assaults and paedophile, to maximise the compensation.
Criminal Injuries resulting in death
In respect of those cases where the person dies from the criminal injuries, a relative of the victim may be entitled to compensation. In those circumstances where a payment is merited the CICA may make a bereavement payment, a child’s payment and a dependency payment.
Those relatives entitled to payment, are limited to the spouse or civil partner of the deceased, a parent of the deceased or a child of the deceased. There are detailed rules about who may qualify for a payment. Furthermore, there are very detailed rules on who is entitled to and the amount of a bereavement payment. There are also rules on compensation that may be payable to the child of a person who sustained the fatal injuries. The same applies to the dependency payments. A contribution can be made in respect of funeral expenses.
If the abuser is convicted can I get compensation directly from the criminal court?
A criminal court, at the end of the trial (if the offender or abuser is found guilty) must consider making a compensation order, where it is empowered to do so. The judge may make an order for the convicted criminal, based on the evidence available, to make a compensation payment to the victim. The more serious the injury, the more information will be needed by the court, to make a compensation order. However, in complicated and large cases, the question of compensation is more likely to be dealt with by the civil courts.
Although the criminal courts have power to make such orders, the amounts involved are relatively small. If there is a possibility of an alternative claim, either directly against those responsible for the harm, or to the CICA, this may be a more satisfactory route, to enable the survivor to recover a higher compensatory award.
If you would like more information, please contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case. Please call us today on 0333 123 9099 or email email@example.com. Alternatively, please complete our online form.
What can I do if my CICA claim is turned down?
It is our experience that claims for compensation can be turned down at the initial stage, but through a review process, with carefully crafted arguments, it can be possible to persuade the CICA to agree to make a payment. However, there are detailed conditions relating to a request for a review of the decision by the CICA. If these are not followed then irrespective of the merit of the claim for compensation, the applicant may be deprived of an award.
Even a review of a decision by the CICA does not automatically result in an award being made. The outcome of the review may still be that an award is not to be made, or that if it is to be made, that it is at a lower level than appears reasonable. In those circumstances there is a right of appeal to a tribunal. There are detailed rules relating to the process of an appeal.
What can I do if I do not think the award is enough?
Even when the CICA do agree to pay compensation it is often the case that the offer they make is not the maximum that may be obtainable under the CICA scheme. With detailed knowledge of the rules of the scheme it can be possible, in some cases, to persuade the CICA to increase the level of compensation due to the survivor of the violent crime.
Do I need a lawyer or solicitor to make a CICA claim?
A survivor of a violent crime can make the application themselves. They do not need a solicitor. However, it may be that they will significantly increase their chances of obtaining an award of compensation and maximising the level of compensation, by instructing a solicitor to assist them.
For further information, including making a claim for compensation arising out of a crime of violence, contact us today. Please call us today on 0333 123 9099 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, please complete our online form.
Do payments under the CICA scheme sufficiently compensate the victim?
The aim of the CICA compensation scheme is to provide a compassionate, efficient and fair service to victims of violent crime. However, the CICA recognise that no amount of money can fully compensate a victim of violent crime for the injuries they have suffered and its consequences. Any payment made is intended as an expression of public sympathy for what was a very distressing experience.
Consequently, it is often the case that payments under the CICA scheme do not sufficiently compensate the survivor of the criminal injury. However, it may be possible to make a separate claim, against the offender, to obtain compensation that more closely meets the consequences of the injury. This is something we frequently do for those who have been sexually assaulted or sexually abused in childhood.
What is a Victim Personal Statement (“VPS”)?
A Victim Personal Statement is a statement that a victim of a crime can give to the police. It is a way of telling the police and the court, when the offender is brought to justice, about how you have suffered as a result of the crime, whether physically, emotionally or psychologically.
What is the difference between a Victim Personal Statement and witness statement?
A witness statement will focus on the crime committed against the victim, rather than the consequences upon the victim.
When will the VPS be used?
The VPS will be used at the sentencing hearing of the offender, and/or in the remarks whether following a guilty plea or the defendant being convicted after a trial. The Victim Impact Statement can be useful as evidence to persuade the CICA to make a higher award than may be the case, if there was not a statement.
Does the VPS impact upon the length of sentence?
The Sentencing Council publish sentencing guidelines, which provides a range of sentences depending upon the seriousness of each offence. When assessing the seriousness of the offenders’ behaviour, a judge will take account of the harm caused to a victim, through the VPS.
What is IBB’s view of the CICA scheme?
Victims of crime, whether they be victims in terms of a physical assault or a victim of a sexual assault, are not treated particularly well by the Government or this scheme. Although decades ago the government of the day set up a criminal injuries compensation scheme, to compensate innocent victims of crime, that is violent crime, the terms of the current scheme do not properly and fully compensate innocent victims. It is for that reason, whenever it is possible to do so, that we recommend clients pursue either the offender direct or, in some cases the institution, organisation or employer responsible for the violent offender or individual who committed the sexual assaults.
When we do recommend clients pursue individuals and organisations direct for compensation, we also recommend that a secondary claim be submitted under the government criminal injuries compensation scheme (CICA) as a backup, just in case the other claim, which can often lead to much more substantial compensation, does not succeed.
Unfortunately, pursuing individuals and organisations for compensation, where a violent crime has been committed, is not always possible and therefore it is necessary to fall back onto the government scheme.
We agree with the Victims’ Commissioner, Baroness Newlove of Warrington, when she said in 2019 that, “criminal injuries compensation is an important part of the package of support on offer to victims of sexual and violent crime. A compensation award offers some catharsis to victims, in that society is acknowledging the terrible wrong that has been done to them. It provides financial assistance when dealing with the many practical difficulties facing victims”.
Although we agree with the Victims Commissioner about the criminal injuries compensation scheme being an important part of the package of support to victims of sexual and violent crime, we do not agree that it provides financial assistance, or rather adequate financial assistance or full compensation. This is because it is based on a tariff scheme, placing an individual’s injuries into a category and identifying the appropriate award to be made to them. Unfortunately, that award will not take full account of the physical and mental health effects of being the victim of a violent and/or sexual crime. That is why, we repeat, that wherever possible we will recommend to clients that we pursue the individual or others, as if a successful claim can be made against that person or organisation, the amount of the award is unlimited and is only capped by reference to the nature of the injuries, the consequences of those injuries upon that person’s physical or mental health, the impact on their ability to work, or keep working at the same level, and their need for private medical treatment which can be claimed at the full private cost.
In addition to the scheme not giving victims full financial compensation, another criticism we make of the scheme is the delay in processing claims for compensation. Minor injuries appear to be dealt with relatively swiftly but in our experience, of handling serious criminal injuries with long-term consequences, it is far too often the case that the CICA, who administer the scheme, take far too long in making a decision. The report produced by the Victims Commissioner in 2019 acknowledged that 20%, one in five, of the criminal injuries compensation claims took more than two years to settle. It is appreciated that as a government agency, resources are limited, meaning individual case handlers have heavy workloads, but this can be no excuse for depriving innocent victims of crime, of decisions and awards of compensation within a shorter timescale.