If you’ve sustained an injury as a result of an assault for which you were not to blame, you may be entitled to claim compensation from the government-funded Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The following practical guide for victims of assault looks at the different aspects of claiming assault compensation from the CICA, from how much you are likely to be awarded, to how long the CICA is likely to take to process your claim.
For further information on assault compensation and how the criminal injuries compensation scheme works, a detailed digital guide can be found online at GOV.UK.
Can you claim compensation for being assaulted?
If you have recently been the victim of a criminal assault resulting in physical or mental injury, you may be able to claim compensation, provided you were not to blame in any way for the altercation in question. Assault compensation is essentially a sum of money awarded by the CICA, a government-funded organisation designed to compensate innocent victims of violent crime. A violent crime is broadly defined under the CICA scheme as:
- a physical attack
- any other act or omission of a violent nature causing physical injury
- a physical threat causing fear of immediate violence in circumstances which would cause anyone of
- reasonable firmness to experience such fear
- a sexual assault to which a person did not consent, or
- arson and fire-raising
It is also possible to claim assault compensation if you took an exceptional and justified risk to apprehend an offender or prevent a crime from taking place, or where you witness a close family member being assaulted and, as a result, you suffer psychological injury.
How much is compensation for injuries sustained in an assault?
The amount of compensation that you can expect to be awarded for injuries sustained as a result of a criminal assault will depend on how seriously you were injured. However, under the CICA scheme, assault compensation can be awarded for both physical and/or psychological injuries, as well as for physical or sexual abuse.
When assessing the value of an award, the CICA will refer to set tariffs. As such, to qualify for an award, any injury sustained must be described in the tariff of injuries under Annex E of the scheme. Provided you sustained an injury set out in Annex E, you will be awarded assault compensation in line with the tariff amounts, based on the severity of your injuries.
The awards of compensation for an assault can range from £1,000 (Level A1) to as much as £250,000 (Level A20). At the lower end of the scale, assault injuries could include a fractured cheek bone for which you have made a substantial recovery, damage to one or more front teeth requiring crown(s), a sprained ankle or wrist causing disabling symptoms for 13 weeks or more, or a disabling mental injury lasting up to 28 weeks. In contrast, at the very upper end of the scale, this includes catastrophic injuries resulting in tetraplegia, ie; paralysis that affects all of a person’s limbs and body from the neck down.
Very often, a victim of an assault will suffer a number of different injuries, although only the severest three will be included in the assault compensation calculation. These will also be compensated on a staggered scale, with the lesser of the two injuries attracting a reduced tariff of 30% and 15% of the full tariff amount for that injury. For example, if you suffered significant facial scarring, a sprained ankle, plus an anxiety disorder which lasted for 3 months, your compensation would comprise £2,400 (100% for the facial scarring), 30% for the sprained ankle (£300) and 15% for the anxiety disorder (£150). These sums would then be added together, making your total assault compensation £2850.
It is openly acknowledged by the CICA that no amount of compensation can actually make up for the pain and suffering experienced by victims of assault and, in many cases, not least where multiple injuries have been sustained, the awards rarely come close to reflecting the severity and impact that violent crime can have on a person. However, assault compensation from the CICA is intended to be a measure of last resort, for those victims who are unable to claim compensation through the criminal or civil courts.
Can assault compensation include claims for financial losses?
In addition to an award of compensation for any physical or mental injuries caused by an assault, you may also be able to claim for loss of earnings arising directly as a result of those injuries, plus special expenses payments covering certain costs incurred.
To be eligible to claim for loss of earnings, your injury must usually have resulted in a total inability to do paid work for at least 28 weeks. You must also provide proof that you were in a job at the time of the incident or that you have an established work history in the previous three years, although you may have a good reason for not having an established work history, such as being in full-time education or having caring responsibilities.
If you can satisfy the requirements for a loss of earnings claim, this will be payable from week 29 onwards, and for as long as the medical evidence supports your inability to work, based on the rate of statutory sick pay applicable at the time a decision is made. For an ongoing loss of earnings claim, this will also be reduced according to the multiplier tables and discount factors as set out under Annex F of the CICA scheme.
When it comes to special expenses as a result of your assault-related injuries, such as the cost of ongoing care, home adaptations or mobility aids, you must again show that you have been incapacitated for a period of longer than 28 weeks. However, any recoverable expenses will be payable from the actual date of injury. You may also be able to claim for the reasonable cost to replace any physical aids damaged when the assault took place.
How to make a claim for assault compensation
To claim assault compensation you can apply online for free at GOV.UK.
As part of your application, you will need to provide the CICA with key facts about the date and location of the assault, when and at which police station the assault was reported, including a crime reference number, and details of your GP so that the CICA can obtain information relating to your injuries. You will also be asked to provide detail of any other money that you may be entitled to as a result of the assault, including social security benefits, insurance payments, or damages from any criminal court case or civil court claim.
Finally, you must disclose details of any unspent criminal convictions, as these may affect your entitlement to assault compensation or the amount. Depending on the seriousness of any criminal history, this may result in either a reduction or total rejection of any award.
What are the eligibility requirements for assault compensation?
To be eligible to claim assault compensation from the CICA, in addition to having suffered an injury as set out under Annex E, various other requirements must first be met, including:
- you must meet the residency or one of the nationality requirements
- the crime must have taken place in either England, Scotland or Wales
- you must have reported the matter to the police as soon as possible
- you must have fully co-operated with the police, as far as reasonably practicable, in bringing your assailant to justice
- you must have fully co-operated within the CICA process.
With reference to the residency or nationality requirements, you must either have been ordinarily resident in the UK at the time of the incident, or be any one of the following:
- a British citizen, regardless of where you normally reside
- an accompanying close relative of a British citizen
- a member of the armed forces or an accompanying close relative
- an EU or EEA national, or a close family member with a right to be in the UK
- a victim of human trafficking
- an asylum seeker
- a national of a State party to the Council of Europe Convention of the Compensation of Victims of Violent Crimes.
When the CICA receives your application for assault compensation, they will tell you what information they need from you to establish your residency or nationality. More detailed guidance on establishing residency for the purposes of assault compensation, or meeting one of the various nationality requirements, can be found online at GOV.UK.
What are the time limits for assault compensation?
When applying for assault compensation from the CICA, you must apply as soon as reasonably practicable. This means that your application should be made without delay, where you should not wait until the conclusion of criminal proceedings. In fact, the scheme does not require an offender to have been convicted or even caught. The fact that you may be eligible for compensation at the conclusion of any criminal case, or you may be pursuing a compensation claim via the civil courts, should not prevent you from applying, although you must tell the CICA about any other possible sources of compensation.
Importantly, if you were an adult at the time when the assault took place, you should normally apply for assault compensation within two years of that incident occurring at the latest. The CICA will only extend this two-year time limit where:
due to exceptional circumstances your CICA application could not have been made any earlier, and
the evidence provided in support of your CICA application means that it can be decided without the need for further extensive enquiries by a claims officer.
If you wish the CICA to consider your application more than two years from the date of the assault, you will need to submit evidence explaining why you were unable to make the application earlier. You must also be able to provide supporting evidence that means that the claims officer can make a decision without further extensive enquiries.
If you were under 18 years old when the assault took place and the incident was reported to the police before your 18th birthday, an application must be received by the CICA by the time you turn 20. If you were under 18, but the incident was not reported to the police until on or after your 18th birthday, a CICA application must be received within two years of the first report to the police. You must also be able to provide evidence that means a decision can be made without further extensive enquiries.
However, regardless of age, you should apply to the CICA as soon as you can, as the closer an application is made to the time of the assault, the easier it will be to provide evidence that you were injured as the result of a violent crime. If you are not able to make your own application, anyone with parental responsibility can apply on your behalf.
How long do assault compensation claims take?
The length of time to process a claim for assault compensation can vary from case to case, although the CICA generally aims to process all claims within a period of 12 months.
This 12-month timeframe is to allow the CICA to contact the police to ensure that the incident was reported without unreasonable delay and that you fully cooperated with the police. The CICA will also want confirmation that you were an innocent party in the context of what happened and to check your criminal history. Equally, the CICA will need to obtain medical proof of the injuries sustained in the assault, where they will typically contact your GP or treating physician, although they may also request a more specialist report.
It is only once all enquiries are complete that the CICA can assess your eligibility to claim assault compensation and the value of any award. In complex cases, where the long term impact of any criminal injury is not yet known, you may be awarded an interim payment, provided there is sufficient evidence at that stage that you are entitled to compensation.
Assault compensation claims FAQs
Do you get compensation for assault?
If you have been the victim of an assault resulting in injury in the last 2 years, you may be entitled to claim compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority if that crime took place in Great Britain.
How much compensation will I get for assault UK?
The amount of compensation that you will get for an assault will depend on the nature and severity of the injury sustained. When calculating assault compensation, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority refer to set tariffs.
How is compensation paid to a victim?
If a victim of violent crime suffers either a physical or psychological injury, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) will usually offered a single lump sum payment assessed on the basis of specific CICA-tariffs for certain types of injuries.
Can you claim compensation for assault UK?
It is possible to claim assault compensation in the UK if you have been the victim of a violent crime that took place in England, Scotland or Wales, and you reported the crime as soon as possible to the police.
The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.