Criminal Injury FAQs
As a victim of violent crime, psychological and emotional trauma triggered by the event may have left you feeling reluctant to come forward and make a claim. We understand this, and want you to know that our specialist team are here for you whenever you’re ready to seek justice. To help you decide whether to make a claim, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the claims process, and answered some of the common questions we’re asked about cases of criminal injury.
If you can’t find the information you’re looking for below, don’t forget that our experienced team are just a phone call away. They can provide impartial advice about your situation, and offer a free, no obligation consultation to help you decide whether or not to take things further.
What you need to know about criminal injury claims
Violent crime takes many forms, and the CICA is there to help victims get the financial support they need to rebuild their lives following an assault or sexual abuse. Below, we’ve provided essential information on making a claim for criminal injuries compensation in exceptional circumstances, such as following sexual assault and abuse, or making a claim on behalf of a minor.
What is the CICA?
Set up in in 1996, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authorities (CICA) is a Government organisation, funded by the Ministry of Justice, which provides compensation for innocent victims of crime.
The CICA can award payments ranging from £1,000 to £500,000 to people who are mentally or physically injured as a result of a crime.
For a CICA criminal assault compensation claim to stand a chance of being successful, you must report the incident to the police and fully co-operate with them.
You may be eligible for compensation under the CICA scheme if you were:
- The victim of a violent crime or assault.
- Not to blame in any way for the incident.
- Injured whilst taking reasonable steps to prevent a crime.
- Psychologically damaged by witnessing a loved one become a victim of a violent crime or the aftermath.
CICA claims can only be made in England, Scotland and Wales, with Northern Ireland having its own scheme.
What type of assault claims do CICA handle?
Criminal assault claims can be made to the CICA for any type of incident which has caused physical or psychological injury.
To successfully secure compensation for being attacked or assaulted, you need to have been a victim of a crime, including the following:
- Common Assault
- Assault causing actual bodily harm (ABH)
- Assault causing grievous bodily harm (GBH)
- Assault in a public place
- Assault in a prison
- Assault at work
- Domestic assault
- Assault by a security guard or ‘bouncer’
- Criminal assault
- Assault leading to fatality
- Assault with a weapon
- Sexual assault – any sexual contact without consent
In cases of sexual assault, a victim could have a valid case for compensation for any instance where sexual contact has taken place without consent, if the details have been reported to the police. This includes stalking, touching over clothing, groping, drug-facilitated sexual assault, child sexual abuse and rape.
If a person has been subjected to an assault of more than one kind, the CICA will award a compensation settlement based on the crime which is most serious in nature.
Am I eligible for compensation?
You may be eligible for compensation if:
- You were injured in an act of violence in England, Scotland or Wales (an offender does not necessarily have to have been convicted of, or even charged with a crime)
- You have made your application for compensation within two years from the date of the incident which caused your injuries, or within 2 years of reporting it to the police if the claim relates to sexual abuse. In cases involving assaults or abuse on a child, this 2-year time limit starts to run when the victim reaches the age of 18. This time limit may be waived if you can provide exceptional circumstances that prevented you from submitting an application earlier, for example if you were mentally or physically incapable of dealing a claim or if you were advised by a police officer not to make a claim before the end of the criminal trial.)
You will not be eligible for compensation if:
- You did not report the incident to the police as soon as reasonably practicable, usually within 48 hours unless there were exceptional circumstances preventing you from doing so.
- You were injured before 1st August 1964 (prior to the scheme being established)
- You have already applied for an award for the same criminal injury under the CICA Scheme
- The injury happened before 1st October 1979 and you and the person who injured you were living together at the time as members of the same family
- Your application could be refused if you have a criminal record, if you have failed to co-operate with the police or if your conduct contributed to the assault.
What can I claim for?
Compensation can be awarded for:
- Injuries (both physical and psychological) to the victim.
- A loved one dying as a result of a violent crime.
- Loss of earnings in certain circumstances.
- Being a victim of a sexual offence.
- Special expenses, if you are also eligible for loss of earnings (for example treatments not covered by the NHS and the cost of care)
How much compensation will I receive?
If you satisfy the criteria for an award of compensation under the CICA Scheme 2012, the amount of compensation you receive will be assessed from a set tariff of awards available, depending on the type of injuries you have sustained.
Examples of some of the most common awards received include:
- Fractured jaw – £1,500
- Detached retina – £3,500
- Strained neck or whiplash injury lasting for more than 13 weeks – £1,000
- Depressed fracture of the skull requiring an operation – £4,600
- Loss of a front tooth – £1,500
- Significant scarring to the face – £2,400
How long do I have to make a claim?
You have 2 years from the date you were injured, or 2 years from the date sexual abuse was reported to the police, to submit your application for compensation in accordance with the CICA Scheme 2012. However, this two-year time limit can be waived if you can provide ‘exceptional’ circumstances as to why you have not submitted your application earlier. When a child has been assaulted or abused the two-year time limit starts to run when they turn 18.
How much will it cost?
Unfortunately, the CICA will not pay for your legal fees in relation to your application for compensation. In light of this, your application is dealt with on a no win, no fee basis.
In short, if your claim is not successful you do not have to pay anything. However, if you are successful in receiving compensation we will deduct no more than 25% plus VAT from the overall compensation award you receive.
Sexual abuse and assault
We understand a sexual assault can leave victims feeling both vulnerable and frightened, so you are guaranteed complete confidentiality and sensitivity when you turn to us for help.
If you have been the victim of a sexual assault, you may be entitled to compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. You can potentially claim for sexual assault even if you have suffered no physical injuries.
We will not only support you through a legal claim for compensation, but also by helping to put you in touch with charities and organisations able to provide additional support. It may be possible to pursue the perpetrator for compensation directly or through an organisation connected to that person, for example an employer, social services, education establishment or local authority.
Claiming on behalf of a child
If you have parental responsibility, you can apply for compensation on behalf of a child under the age of 18, knowing the case will be handled with complete confidentiality and sensitivity by Hudgell Solicitors.
If the child has been abused by a member of the same immediate family, you may still be able to claim without parental responsibility.
Our experts are experienced in handling the sensitive and difficult nature of claims relating to children, and you can be assured the matter will be handled with sympathy and understanding throughout.
How to make a claim
To help us assist with your claim you will need to provide the following when you contact us:
- Contact details for any medical expert who has provided treatment
- The police reference number (please contact the police if you are not sure what your unique police reference number is. This number is sometimes called a Crime Reference Number)
- The name of the offender (if known)
- The date of any court case
Should you wish to start a claim for compensation, we will write to you and explain the fees in full.
If you don’t want to carry on after an initial consultation there is no obligation and no charge.
Therefore it will cost you nothing to start the process, allowing you to make an informed decision when in possession of all the information you require.
Further information about the CICA is available from our dedicated criminal injuries website at www.cica-criminal-injuries.co.uk.
Solicitor and Manager, Criminal Injuries
Litigation Executive, Criminal Injuries
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