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January 6th 2020

Criminal Injuries

Our work in 2019: Fighting for justice on behalf of victims of abuse and assault

Paul Cain

Paul Cain

Senior Solicitor, Clinical Negligence and Head of CICA

Our work in 2019: Fighting for justice on behalf of victims of abuse and assault

Our specialist Criminal Injuries Compensation team support many people who have been through the most harrowing of situations – and often find themselves struggling to return to normality as a result.

Our specialist Criminal Injuries Compensation team support many people who have been through the most harrowing of situations – and often find themselves struggling to return to normality as a result.

Physical and psychological injuries sustained as a result of assaults and abuse can be lifelong, impacting on life at home and work, social inclusion and relationships with friends and family.

Over the past 12 months, our specialist team have supported many people in seeking damages through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), a Government scheme in place to award damages to blameless victims of violent crime.

It is a scheme often recommended to people directly by police forces and victim support groups, with many then choosing to pursue claims directly themselves.

From experience, we know this is not a straight-forward or easy process for a victim of crime to follow, and we were not surprised by a Victims’ Commissioner review earlier this year concluding that CICA was ‘adding to victims’ experience of stress and trauma’, rather than helping them.

It said that 51% of those who directly applied to CICA found it difficult to fill in an application for compensation, and 73% of people whose claims were rejected did not understand why.

It is for the above reasons that we have been very proud of our work for clients over the past 12 months. Using resources such as police and social services reports, we are often able to gather all the information that is needed to run a successful claim.

We are able to communicate directly with the CICA and ensure those we represent don’t have to constantly ‘relive’ what happened to them in pursuit of the compensation they deserve.

“We have certainly stepped in to help many people over the past 12 months who were struggling to get the compensation they deserved through the CICA application process, or finding it too much of a struggle” said solicitor Paul Cain, head of Criminal Injuries at Hudgell Solicitors.

“The scheme is complex and awards are based upon a detailed tariff of payments. This means that many victims struggle to understand how much they might be entitled to receive.

“Those who represent themselves can find it difficult to ascertain whether they have received a fair or reasonable offer, which prompts some to simply accept the award at initial offer stage as they do not feel qualified to challenge it, when it would be clear to a lawyer that they should.

“Many cases we have been successful with over the past 12 months have demonstrated the benefits to our clients of choosing our expert services, rather than submitting cases to CICA directly themselves. We have secured some excellent results.”

Successful cases led by the Hudgell Solicitors CICA team over the past 12 months have included;

“We have continually demonstrated our knowledge of the CICA system over the past 12 months and how it differs from criminal law, securing damages for some clients in cases where there have been no convictions or indeed any prosecution relating to the alleged offence,” added Mr Cain.

“This is because although it may have been considered that there was not enough evidence to secure a conviction against the accused in a criminal court, there was enough detailed evidence from police investigations or other sources that allowed us to prove to the CICA that a crime had taken place, and suffering caused as a result.

“We’re really proud of the difference our involvement has made in some cases. Our involvement was worth more than £100,000 to one client compared to the offer he’d had when applying himself.

“We also successfully appealed and went through a review process for one client, resulting in a raised offer from CICA of £58,775 from £13,500, despite the case being technically out of time when we agreed to take it on.

“In another case, our expertise resulted in the CICA Appeal Tribunal agreeing that a client’s prolapsed disc was directly attributable to a crime of violence, rather than a pre-existing condition. This was the difference between it being a successful claim and not.”

 ‘Same Roof Rule’ abuse victims finally able to claim compensation

The Government finally abolished the controversial ‘Same Roof Rule’ in September, which had been in place 40 years and prevented anyone from making a claim to CICA if they were abused prior to 1st October 1979 by somebody living in the same household.

It was a ruling which soon led to successful claims led by our team, with one of our cases being featured on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show.

One of our clients, a 54-year-old man from West Yorkshire, was finally compensated for the abuse he suffered at home as a child at the hands of his father in the 1970s, having being locked up for hours overnight in the cellar of their family home in London without food or heat, and being repeatedly brutally beaten with belts, wires and a garden hose.

Having previously been told his claim could not progress due to the ‘Same Roof Rule’, he received damages just weeks after the law was overturned, and said: “It is a form of closure for me, and that is what I have always wanted, but was denied.

“I’d previously been told that seven years of abuse I suffered counted for nothing and had to be ignored. It was never about the money. It has always been about the recognition of our suffering.”

CICA confirmed that 4,000 applications were refused over the years under the Same Roof Rule since, It said it expected 70 per cent of those cases to now result in damages payments being awarded should people reapply, and that there could be as many as 3,500 new applicants come forward.

What Our Clients Say