The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme was introduced to compensate innocent victims of violent crimes who have no recourse to compensation against the assailant, usually because the assailant has no monies or properties with which to compensate their victim.  It is there to compensate not only those who have been attacked but also to recompense those subjected to domestic violence or sexual assault or abuse.   It compensates not only physical injuries but also psychological injuries, providing that a specific diagnosis of a disabling mental illness is made by a Clinical Psychologist or Psychiatrist.  

The awards of compensation come from a public pot of money allocated by the Government, so of course there will be limits. 

The Scheme and indeed the tariff used by the CICA to allocate compensation has been reviewed and amended numerous times.  It was most recently reviewed in 2022 however it continues to utilise the tariff as set out in 2012 and no changes have been made to the awards tariff since then.  At that time many of the lower value injuries were removed altogether from the scheme. 

There are strict criteria to be met in order for a claim to succeed; -

The Victim’s actions must not have caused or contributed to the incident, and this can be as little as arguing with the assailant prior to the assault;

The assailant must cooperate with the police in bringing their assailant to justice which includes not only making a statement at the outset but if necessary, attending Court.  It is not sufficient to make a complaint and then state they do not wish to proceed any further.  When this happens, the Authority declines to make an award.

The injuries must be listed within the CICA scheme tariff, which has already discussed is limited, at best.

Any criminal history that the Claimant has will be taken into consideration and any claim may be reduced or refused on the basis of that criminal history.  On this point the CICA are incredibly strict, and it has been known for Claimants who have sustained even the most severe of injuries, despite being unprovoked, to be refused compensation on the basis of the Claimant’s history. 

Criminal Injuries Compensation

Where a Claimant incurs loss of earnings as a result of the assault and subsequent injuries, they can only claim loss of earnings once that exceeds 28 weeks.  So, if the Claimant is not absent for more than six months, they will receive nothing.  Even after the first 28 weeks proof must be put forward as to work history and absence.  A Claimant will then only receive statutory sick pay, so if you thought you would recover your full loss of earnings, sadly think again. 

It all sounds a bit grim and often leaves innocent victims of violent crimes feeling let down, disappointed, and abandoned by the system, with serious injuries being minimalised.   

However, being optimistic without this Scheme victims would often be left with nothing at all to compensate for their injuries.  To put it bluntly it is better than nothing. 

Claimants can submit a claim themselves by completing an online claim form on the CICA website.  However, a review by the Ministry of Justice in 2020 found the tariff system complex and likely to put off Claimants from claiming as they did not understand it and couldn’t work out whether they would be entitled to compensation.  They also decided that the scheme was not fit for purpose and required systemic changes.

Solicitors can be instructed but there is no funding from the Authority for legal costs.  TBI law often act for Claimants on a no win no fee basis in these matters.  If the claim fails then no charge is made to the Claimant and only if the claim succeeds does the Claimant agree to pay 25% of their damages to cover the costs of running the claim, which is often lengthy given the excessive work load of the CICA. 

Is it better than nothing?  I think that is best left to the Claimants themselves to decide. 

Criminal Injuries Compensation

How can we help?

If you would like advice on making an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, please contact our specialist team on 01429 225200.

Call: 01429 225200