Victims of violent crime can suffer long-lasting consequences, with profound effects on their day-to-day lives. Whether the injuries sustained are physical or mental, there can be a major impact on your employment, your personal relationships, and your financial situation.
For this reason, it’s important that victims of violent crime seek all the support to which they are entitled. Seeking compensation, in particular, can be an important way to offset some of the damage done by the incident.
In this post, we’ll look at one of the most significant but often-overlooked sources of support for the victims of violent crime: the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. We’ll look at who can claim from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and give some advice on how to make the claims process as straightforward as possible.
What is the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority?
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is a government agency that administers a compensation scheme for victims of violent crime in Britain, known as the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. The compensation offered by the scheme is intended to help offset some of the costs that victims can incur, whether this be through medical costs or loss of earnings.
It is also intended as an acknowledgment of the suffering of victims. While money cannot ever fully assuage the negative impact of violent crime, the recognition that is afforded by a compensation award can be an important step toward moving past the incident.
Awards from the scheme are made according to what is called a tariff of injuries. This is a government-approved list of amounts that will be awarded to victims based on the specific injuries they have incurred.
In the following section, we’ll look more closely at eligibility for making a CICA claim. Once we’ve established who can claim from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, we’ll consider the claims process in more detail and suggest ways to make it easier.
Who can claim from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme?
As mentioned above, the compensation provided by the scheme is intended for direct victims of violent crime who have sustained a physical or mental injury as a result of said crime.
With this in mind, it may seem fairly clear who can claim criminal injuries compensation from CICA. However, there are some conditions and caveats within this broad definition. We’ll look at the key points in turn, so that hopefully you can get a clear sense of whether or not you might be eligible to claim.
As we’ll discuss later on, it can be helpful to get advice from a solicitor with experience of dealing with CICA claims before undertaking the process. This is especially true if you’re not sure whether you qualify or not.
Direct victims of violent crime
As mentioned above, if you have suffered a physical or mental injury as a direct result of a violent crime, you may well be able to make a CICA claim.
The guidance offered by CICA does specify direct here. That is, the injury you have sustained must have been a direct result of the crime, and you must have been an immediate victim of said crime.
However, the definition of a “crime of violence” is relatively broad. While a physical attack certainly counts, so too do a threat of violence, sexual assault, and arson.
On this basis, we should also stress that the injury you sustain can be mental rather than physical. Thus, if you were threatened with immediate violence and experienced mental health issues that affected your day-to-day life as a result, you would potentially be entitled to claim as a victim of violent crime.
Other potential claimants
From the above, we should further clarify that, while direct victims of violent crime are the key recipients of compensation from CICA, there are other cases in which you might qualify.
Firstly, if you have been injured in attempting to prevent a crime or apprehending an offender, you may be eligible to claim. The risk you have taken in this case must be both justifiable and exceptional.
So, for example, if you are a police officer and injured in this way, the risk would not be considered exceptional, as this is taken to be part of your work and thus expected of you.
Secondly, you can make a CICA claim if you witnessed a violent crime, or were present in the immediate aftermath of such a crime, in which a loved one sustained an injury. As with the above example of a threat of violence, you must have suffered some mental injury as a result of what you’ve witnessed in order to be eligible to claim.
Finally, if you have been bereaved as a result of violent crime, you may be eligible for compensation from CICA. In this case, you would have to be a “qualifying relative”. Broadly speaking, this category refers to spouses, partners, parents, or children of the deceased.
Reporting the crime to the police
Though there are a number of sources of support for victims of crimes that have not been reported to the police, including Victim Support, this does not include CICA.
In order to be eligible to make a CICA claim, the crime in question – whether it affected you directly or a loved one – must have been reported to the police. As we’ll see below, providing information about the reporting of the crime will be part of the CICA claims process.
Further, the CICA guidance states that you must have reported the crime to the police “as soon as is reasonably practicable.” If you do not do so, CICA may ask you to explain and justify this delay.
Nevertheless, it is not the case that the assailant must have been convicted or even identified in order to make a claim. As long as the crime has been properly reported, your eligibility will not be impacted.
Time limits for claiming
Finally, there are certain time limits on your eligibility for a CICA claim. The guidance offered by the scheme itself states that “you should make your application to CICA as soon as possible.” In practice, they clarify, “this should normally not be later than two years after [the incident] occurred.”
How to make a CICA claim
It should now hopefully be clearer who can claim from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.
In terms of actually making a CICA claim, you’ll need to fill out a form on the government’s website. The form will require you to provide a range of information, detailing both the crime in question and the injuries you suffered as a result.
At various points through the claims process, CICA may ask you to provide further evidence. They also stress that “[t]he responsibility for making a case for compensation lies with you.” That is, if you do not provide sufficient evidence in a timely fashion, your claim may be rejected – even if, in principle, you would be entitled to compensation!
Given this, it’s important that you get all the support you need with making a claim. After all, this can be a challenging process if you are struggling to recover from an injury, be it mental or physical.
Read on below to find out how HNK Solicitors can help with your CICA claim.
HNK can help with your CICA claim
As you can see from the above, there are various situations in which you may be eligible to make a CICA claim.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to work out if you can claim or not. What is more, the process itself can be challenging. If you fail to provide the appropriate amount of information, or to respond to CICA’s requests, your claim may be rejected.
If you are unsure whether you are eligible or need support in ensuring you have all the necessary evidence for your claim, HNK Solicitors can help. We have substantial experience in helping our clients to secure compensation through CICA claims. With our detailed understanding of the regulations and processes involved, we can make sure your claim is presented in the best possible way.
We offer free consultations, so if you are considering a CICA claim, get in touch today to see how we can help you. To arrange your consultation, fill out the form on our website to request a call back. Alternatively, call us on 0151 203 1104 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.