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Last update: 18-12-2006
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Compensation to crime victims - England and Wales

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Obtaining compensation in the form of damages from the offender 1.
1.1. Under which conditions can I make a claim for damages in the trial against the offender (the criminal proceedings)? 1.1.
1.2. At which moment of the procedure should I put forward the claim? 1.2.
1.3. How should I put forward the claim, and to whom? 1.3.
1.4. How should I present my claim (indicate a total amount and/or specify the individual losses)? 1.4.
1.5. Can I get legal assistance before and /or during the proceedings? 1.5.
1.6. What evidence will I be required to present in support of my claim? 1.6.
1.7. If I am awarded damages by the court, is there any special assistance available to me as a crime victim for the enforcement of the judgment against the offender? 1.7.
2. Obtaining compensation from the state or by a public body 2.
2.1. Is it possible to obtain compensation from the state or by a public body? 2.1.
2.2. Is the possibility limited to victims that have suffered certain types of crime? 2.2.
2.3. Is the possibility limited to victims that have sustained certain types of injury? 2.3.
2.4. Can relatives or dependants of victims that have died as a result of the crime obtain compensation? 2.4.
2.5. Is the possibility of obtaining compensation limited to persons of a certain nationality or persons residing in a certain country? 2.5.
2.6. Can I apply for compensation in England and Wales if the crime was committed outside the United Kingdom? If yes, under what conditions? 2.6.
2.7. Is it necessary to have reported the crime to the police? 2.7.
2.8. Is it necessary to await the outcome of any police investigations or criminal proceedings before I can apply? 2.8.
2.9. If the offender has been identified, is it necessary to first try to get compensation from the offender? 2.9.
2.10. If the offender has not been identified or convicted, is it still possible to qualify for compensation? If so, what evidence do I need to supply in support of my application? 2.10.
2.11. Is there a time limit for making the application for compensation? 2.11.
2.12. For which losses can I be compensated? 2.12.
2.13. How will the compensation be calculated? 2.13.
2.14. Is there a minimum and/or maximum amount that can be awarded? 2.14.
2.15. Will compensation that I have received, or can receive, for the same losses but from other sources (such as insurance) be deducted from the compensation from the state? 2.15.
2.16. Are there any other criteria that can influence my chance of receiving compensation, or how the amount of compensation is calculated, such as my own behaviour in relation to the event that caused the injury? 2.16.
2.17. Can I get an advance on the compensation? If yes, under what conditions? 2.17.
2.18. Where can I get the necessary forms and further information on how to apply? Is there a special help line or website that I can use? 2.18.
2.19. Can I get legal assistance for making the application? 2.19.
2.20. Where do I send the application? 2.20.
2.21. Are there any victim support organisations that can give further assistance? 2.21.

 

1. Obtaining compensation in the form of damages from the offender

1.1. Under which conditions can I make a claim for damages in the trial against the offender (the criminal proceedings)?

Victims cannot and have no need to apply for compensation during criminal proceedings. Criminal courts in England and Wales are required, under the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000, to consider ordering an offender to pay compensation to their victim or victims in any case where personal injury, loss or damage has resulted from the offence. The courts are also required to give reasons where they do not make a compensation order in such cases.

1.2. At which moment of the procedure should I put forward the claim?

See answer at 1.1

1.3. How should I put forward the claim, and to whom?

See answer at 1.1

1.4. How should I present my claim (indicate a total amount and/or specify the individual losses)?

See answer at 1.1

1.5. Can I get legal assistance before and /or during the proceedings?

Yes, but it is up to the victim to decide whether or not to have legal representation. For details see the “Legal aid - England & Wales”.

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1.6. What evidence will I be required to present in support of my claim?

The court will ask the victim for any information it considers necessary.

1.7. If I am awarded damages by the court, is there any special assistance available to me as a crime victim for the enforcement of the judgment against the offender?

Yes. There is a wide range of measures that the courts can take where an offender fails to pay. For example, the courts may order attachment of the penalty to the offender's wages or social security benefits. In the last resort, the courts can commit an offender to prison if he or she defaults on payment. After that, the financial penalty effectively lapses since there is no further effective sanction the courts can apply.

2. Obtaining compensation from the state or by a public body

2.1. Is it possible to obtain compensation from the state or by a public body?

Yes, the state has introduced a statutory scheme which allows compensation to be paid to someone who has been physically or mentally injured (or both), as a result of a violent crime. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) administers this scheme.

2.2. Is the possibility limited to victims that have suffered certain types of crime?

To qualify for compensation, an applicant must have been the victim of a crime of violence. There is no legal definition for this term but it will usually involve a physical attack on the person, a wounding or a sexual offence. In some circumstances, the threat of violence may be treated as a violent crime.

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2.3. Is the possibility limited to victims that have sustained certain types of injury?

In order to be eligible, the victim must have sustained physical or psychological injuries as a result of the incident. These physical or psychological injuries must be sufficiently serious to warrant the minimum award.

2.4. Can relatives or dependants of victims that have died as a result of the crime obtain compensation?

Yes. If the victim has died as a result of a criminal injury, a dependant or relative of the victim may be eligible for a fatal injury award. A dependant or relative may qualify if, at the time of the victim's death, he or she was the victim's:

  • husband or wife

  • unmarried but long term partner (of either sex)

  • parent

  • child (of any age)

  • former husband or wife (financially supported by the person who has died)

2.5. Is the possibility of obtaining compensation limited to persons of a certain nationality or persons residing in a certain country?

No, but the incident must have happened in England, Wales or Scotland. Different arrangements apply in Northern Ireland. The CICA can answer any queries about whether an application can be accepted. Contact details follow later.

2.6. Can I apply for compensation in England and Wales if the crime was committed outside the United Kingdom? If yes, under what conditions?

No. However, compensation may be available from a similar scheme in the country where you were injured.

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2.7. Is it necessary to have reported the crime to the police?

Yes. It is important that the victim tells the police as soon as possible and makes a formal complaint. The CICA may make exceptions in cases where injuries were, for example, sustained in schools, prisons, residential homes and psychiatric hospitals, providing the incident was reported to someone in authority and the victim was willing to have the matter formally investigated.

2.8. Is it necessary to await the outcome of any police investigations or criminal proceedings before I can apply?

No. However, usually the CICA will wait until the trial has been finalised before making its decision.

2.9. If the offender has been identified, is it necessary to first try to get compensation from the offender?

No, but any compensation paid to the victim by the offender will be deducted from any award the CICA makes.

2.10. If the offender has not been identified or convicted, is it still possible to qualify for compensation? If so, what evidence do I need to supply in support of my application?

Yes. Once the CICA receives your application form, it will contact the police, hospitals, doctors and any other organisations who hold relevant information about your claim. The application form includes a section on which you give your consent to such contacts being made.

2.11. Is there a time limit for making the application for compensation?

Generally, the CICA can only consider an application if it receives it within 2 years of the date on which the incident occurred. The CICA may make exceptions to this time limit if it is reasonable and in the interests of justice to do so. However, such cases are rare.

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2.12. For which losses can I be compensated?

The Scheme allows financial compensation to be made:

  • to recognise physical & mental injuries caused by a violent crime

  • in certain circumstances, to compensate for past or future lost earnings or special expenses caused by a violent crime; and

  • for the death of a close relative as a result of a violent crime, including, in some cases, compensation for lost earnings of the person who was killed.

2.13. How will the compensation be calculated?

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme lists over 400 injury descriptions and the standard amount of compensation the CICA can pay for pain and suffering the victim has experienced. When a victim suffers more than one qualifying injury, the award will be the full tariff amount for the most serious injury, plus 30% of the tariff value of the second most serious injury and, if appropriate, 15% of the value of the third most serious injury. In some cases, additional compensation for loss of earnings and special expenses may be payable.

2.14. Is there a minimum and/or maximum amount that can be awarded?

Compensation awards range from the minimum award of £1000 to a maximum of £500000.

2.15. Will compensation that I have received, or can receive, for the same losses but from other sources (such as insurance) be deducted from the compensation from the state?

Any award made will be reduced by the full amount of any payment of compensation or damages that you receive for the same injury or injuries. If after the CICA makes an award you receive compensation or damages from another source, you must pay back the full amount of the other payment up to the level of the CICA award of compensation.

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2.16. Are there any other criteria that can influence my chance of receiving compensation, or how the amount of compensation is calculated, such as my own behaviour in relation to the event that caused the injury?

When considering a claim for compensation, the CICA will take many factors into account before making a decision. Other than who was injured and when the incident took place, it also looks at whether or not you fully co-operated with the police and the CICA, your criminal record and also your behaviour before, during and after the incident in which you were injured.

2.17. Can I get an advance on the compensation? If yes, under what conditions?

Advances of compensation, called interim payments, can be made in certain circumstances. For example, in cases involving future loss of earnings or future medical examinations where it will take much longer to finalise the case, the CICA will try to make a decision within a year on whether you are entitled to receive an award. If so, you can ask for an interim payment at that stage. If one is made, this interim payment will be deducted from any final award that you receive.

2.18. Where can I get the necessary forms and further information on how to apply? Is there a special help line or website that I can use?

You can get the necessary forms and further information on how to apply by telephoning 0800 358 3601 from within the United Kingdom or 00 44 141 331 2726 if you are calling from another country. This information is also available on the CICA website . E-mail enquiries may be made to : enquiries.cica@gtnet.gov.uk.

2.19. Can I get legal assistance for making the application?

It is not necessary, but you can get legal assistance when making the application from a solicitor or law centre. The Victim Support Schemes cannot provide legal advice. If you decide to get legal or other paid advice to help with your application, the CICA cannot pay the costs.

2.20. Where do I send the application?

Once you have completed your application please send it to:

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
Tay House
300 Bath Street
Glasgow
G2 4LN

2.21. Are there any victim support organisations that can give further assistance?

The independent charity, Victim Support, can provide free, confidential, emotional and practical support to victims. They can help you fill in your application form and provide information about the Scheme. The phone number of your nearest Victim Support Scheme will be in United Kingdom telephone books or can be obtained from the Victim Support line on 0845 3030 900 (for callers from within the United Kingdom only) or from the "Victim Support" website. You can also get advice from a Citizens' Advice Bureau or from a welfare rights organisation.

Further information

« Compensation to crime victims - General information | United Kingdom - General information »

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Last update: 18-12-2006

 
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