The Government are currently pushing through plans that could result in thousands of victims of violent crime no longer getting the compensation they deserve. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling wants to cut funding for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme by £50 million a year, thus reducing it to £150 million. This means that as many as 30,000 victims of violent crime will end up either getting reduced criminal injury compensation repayments or none at all.
Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan called the cuts “heartless”, going on to say that “vulnerable people who have been injured through no fault of their own are being left high and dry by a Government that couldn’t care less about victims of crime”.
Those categories of victims who will lose out as a direct result of these plans include shop workers, people injured in dog attacks and victims of terrorists. However, those with serious injuries and the dependents of murder victims will continue to receive the full amount, this being the current criminal injuries compensation payout UK of up to £500,000 a year. Additionally, those wanting to make a compensation claim will have to pay a charge of up to £50 before they can even begin to lodge a claim.
A spokesperson from the Ministry of Justice said that they were trying to consider the best way of reforming the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme while still making it possible to protect the payments given to those victims affected by significantly more serious crimes. It was stated that the concerns raised in Parliament were carefully listened to, with particular thought given to those who are on low pay who do not receive statutory sick pay and who have suffered injuries meaning that they are temporarily unable to work, and that these concerns would be responded to in the next debate.
The current procedure for claiming in the instance of criminal injury is fairly straightforward. Simply put, if you have suffered a personal injury as a result of the crime within the last two years, you are likely to be able to pursue a claim.
While it is sometimes possible to take out a claim against the actual personal who injured you, more often than not it is the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) who you make the claim through. The CICA are a government funded scheme set up in order to provide compensation for those who have suffered as a result of violent crimes. As well as covering criminal injuries compensation legal fees, claims pursued via the CICA can effectively help get victims’ lives back on track, or at least go some way towards helping deal with any of the expenses or financial deficits – such as loss of wages – that may be incurred as a result.
Although most personal injury claims have a deadline of three years, criminal injury claims must be made within two years of the incident occurring. However, special consideration may be given to your case if there are specific circumstances that meant you were unable to claim during that time period. You are also more likely to receive compensation if the injury you sustained has had a lasting effect on your life: if you only suffered minor bruising, for example, and are recovered both physically and mental within a few weeks, you are unlikely to be able to make a criminal injury compensation claim through the CICA.
Even if the person who has injured you hasn’t been convicted, this does not mean that you are not eligible to make a criminal injury compensation claim (although this is often mistakenly believed by many). If you have been the victim of a violent crime that has harmed you physically, mentally or both, it only makes senses that you would want to see some kind of recompense.