What Is Criminal Injuries Compensation?
- AuthorSherReene Cheah
What is Criminal Injuries Compensation? Who is eligible to claim? In what circumstances can a claim be made?
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme is a government funded scheme that awards compensation to victims of crimes of violence. A crime of violence may include an assault, rape and sexual abuse. The scheme has been in place since 1964. It has been amended several times since then and the current scheme has been in place since 2012. In many respects it is much stricter than its predecessors.
In order to qualify for an award under the scheme you must be a victim and prove that you have sustained injuries (physical and/or psychological) as a direct result of a crime of violence. The victim must report the incident to the Police as soon as practically possible and must fully cooperate with the Police thereafter in bringing their assailant to justice. It is common, particularly in domestic situations, for a victim to later withdraw their statement or refuse to testify in criminal proceedings, in which case their application for compensation will be refused regardless of the severity of their injuries.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority will also take into account the injured party’s conduct both before and during the incident in question. In particular the Authority will check the applicant’s own criminal history and any convictions on their record are likely to result in the application being refused. If it is found that the injured party contributed to the incident in question, for example by willingly participating in a fight, again the application will be refused.
Compensation in relation to the injuries is assessed by reference to a tariff. The tariff that accompanies the 2012 scheme removed the entitlement in relation to compensation for many minor injuries. If you are in any doubt about whether your injuries entitle you to apply for an award of compensation you should contact us as soon as possible after the incident.
Apart from claiming compensation in relation to the injuries themselves it is also possible to claim for financial loss such as loss of earnings. The loss must have lasted for a minimum of 29 weeks.
An application for compensation must be submitted within 2 years from the date of the incident and in the case of a series of incidents such as abuse, within 2 years from the date of the last incident, although it is always advisable to make the application as soon as you can. If the victim is under 18 years of age at the time of the incident the rules are different but you should still make an application as soon as possible to ensure you do not miss the time limit. If an application is not made within the time limit without a reasonable explanation it is likely that the application will be refused. It is not sufficient reason to say that you were unaware of your entitlement or the existence of a criminal injuries compensation scheme.
It is essential that if you have been a victim of a single incident or been subject to domestic or sexual abuse that you do not wait. Report the incident to the Police immediately and obtain the crime reference number as well as the name of the Police Officer and his/her badge number. You should then contact us as soon as possible.
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