It has recently been reported that the governments Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is re-traumatising victims of violent and sexual crimes. After a review, Baroness Newlove said she found that the CICA was “needlessly forcing survivors to repeat traumatic details” and that it “calculated to frustrate and alienate those it should be helping.”
After suffering a criminal injury, the effects can often be serious and traumatising. Many victims suffer from lasting physical and psychological damage and distress. Victims of sexual or violent crimes, including bereaved relatives of murder victims, are entitled to claim money from the CICA after their suffering, to help them recover. The money claimed can help support them whilst having to take time away from work, help them to access counselling or improve safety measures around their home. Compensation can range from £1,000 to £500,000, depending on the severity of your injuries.
Criticisms of the CICA
When making a claim, the victim needs to provide details of the crimes against them including times, dates, addresses, evidence of their injuries and information on the attack. Baroness Newlove states that this process is often having a detrimental impact of their wellbeing. She said “Evidence demonstrates that completing this part of the CICA application form is highly traumatic as it re-triggers memories of the incident.”
The CICA have also been criticised for drawing out these claims, with some victims waiting years to reach an agreement, meaning they have to repeatedly relive the trauma over a long period of time. The BBC reported that one couple has been waiting four years to reach an agreement and are going to a tribunal over the case. The victim stated that every time they are contacted it’s a constant reminder of what they went through.
During her review, Baroness Newlove spoke to more than 200 victims, as well as police commissioners, lawyers and support services. She found fewer than two-in-five people could remember being told about their entitlement to claim by the police or victim services. This therefore raises the question as to whether there could be potentially thousands of victims who are entitled to but fail to claim compensation.
The benefits of using a solicitor
By using a firm of solicitors, such as Higgs Newton Kenyon, who have many years’ experience in handling CICA cases, it can help relieve some of the stress and trauma for the victim. When you come to HNK with a criminal injury claim, you are assigned an individual file handler who works solely with you and will be your point of contact. This file handler will take the time to get to know you and your case, and will be aware of your circumstances and personal issues, meaning they can make the process much less onerous for the claimant.
The file handler works on the claimant’s behalf, contacting the CICA for them, providing them with the information and evidence and advising the claimant whilst constantly keeping them updated. We even have a team of in-house lawyers who will represent you at an appeal hearing if needed. Our team of lawyers have a wide range of experience in dealing with applications for compensation from the CICA, so know how to handle these cases properly to ensure you receive maximum compensation for your injuries.
We recently acted for a client who applied to the CICA for compensation and represented themselves. The client was offered £1,000 compensation by the CICA and felt it was too low for what they had suffered. The client thereafter appointed HNK and after reviewing their file and submitting an appeal to the CICA, the client was awarded £11,000.
HNK can help
HNK solicitors will fight to secure you the compensation you deserve whilst making the process as easy and stress free as possible. If you have been the victim of a violent crime, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. If you need any legal advice or further information on making a claim to the CICA, contact HNK Solicitors on 0151 203 1104 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.