If you have been the victim of a violent crime resulting in injury, you may be eligible to claim criminal injuries compensation. The following guide to the criminal injuries compensation authority (CICA) examines in detail how CICA criminal injury claims work — from what constitutes a criminal injury and who qualifies for compensation, to how long a criminal injuries compensation authority CICA-claim typically takes to process.
What is criminal injuries compensation?
Criminal injuries compensation is a sum of money awarded to victims of violent crime by the criminal injuries compensation authority (CICA). The CICA are a government-funded organisation set up to compensate innocent victims, regardless of whether or not the perpetrator is identified, caught or convicted. Additionally, being the victim of a violent crime for the purposes of the CICA scheme is not limited to being physically assaulted. In addition to those cases in which a victim is injured, it can also include where:
- you witnessed a loved one being subjected to a violent crime or were present in the immediate
- aftermath, and suffered a disabling mental injury because of this
- a close relative is fatally injured because of a violent crime
- you paid for the cost of a funeral of someone who died because of a violent crime.
You may also be entitled to a CICA claim if you were injured trying to stop a crime, and you were taking a ‘justified and exceptional’ risk in doing so.
Who can claim for criminal injury?
To be eligible to bring a claim for criminal injuries compensation, first and foremost, the crime must have taken place in either England, Wales or Scotland. There are also rules around the nationality of prospective Claimants, where you must have been one of the following at the point at which the crime took place:
- a British citizen, or an EU/EEA national, or close relative
- a family member of an EU/EEA national with a right to be in the UK
- a member of the armed forces, or close relative living in their household
- an asylum seeker
- a potential victim of human trafficking, although this special victim status must be confirmed by both UK Visas and Immigration and the UK Human Trafficking Centre
- a national of a country signed up to the Council of Europe Convention on the Compensation of Victim of Violent Crimes.
You will also be eligible to claim criminal injuries compensation if you were classed as ordinarily UK-resident at the time of the crime.
Finally, the crime must have been one that was reported to the police, where you must have co-operated, as far as reasonably practicable, in bringing the perpetrator to justice. In most cases, you must apply for compensation from the CICA within 2 years of the crime, unless you are claiming because of childhood sexual or physical abuse and/or you could not claim earlier because, for example, your mental or physical health prevented you from doing so.
How to make a criminal injuries compensation claim
To apply for criminal injuries compensation, you can do so online at GOV.UK, where it does not cost anything to submit a criminal injuries compensation authority CICA-claim. The cost of the application process is free. If additional medical evidence is needed, you may need to contribute up to £50 towards the cost of this although, if you are required to see an expert, the CICA will pay the reasonable cost of travel to and from an appointment.
When you apply to the CICA, as part of your application you may need to provide:
- the date and location where the crime took place
- the crime reference number and police station where the crime was reported
- the name and address of your GP
- the name and address of your dentist, if dental treatment was needed due to your injuries
- details of any previous applications that you have made to the CICA
- details of any unspent criminal convictions, where these may affect whether you are entitled to claim criminal injuries compensation and how much.
As the CICA scheme is intended to be an option of last resort, you will be asked if you have tried to obtain any other money that you may be entitled to, for example, by claiming social security benefits, insurance payments, or damages from a civil court claim or any criminal court case. This essentially means that where the opportunity exists for you to claim compensation from another source, you are expected to take all reasonable steps to do so. However, you do not need to wait for the outcome of any other claim before you apply. You should make your CICA claim as soon as possible, although a decision may not be made until the CICA are satisfied that you could not claim compensation from elsewhere.
Importantly, you must keep the CICA informed as to any other claims being pursued. If you deliberately provide information to the CICA that you know is wrong or misleading, your application for criminal injuries compensation may be refused. You will also be at risk of criminal prosecution for having attempted to fraudulently obtain compensation.
How much is criminal injuries compensation?
The CICA recognises that no amount of compensation can actually make up for the pain and suffering experienced by victims of violent crime, where awards are intended to be an important gesture of public sympathy and an acknowledgement of the harm caused.
Under the CICA scheme, claims will be considered for:
- physical or psychological injury
- sexual or physical abuse
- loss of earnings arising directly as a result of a criminal injury
- special expenses payments, covering certain costs incurred as a result of a violent crime
- bereavement payments for a fatality caused by a violent crime, as well as loss of parental services payments, and for financial and physical dependency, and funeral payments
To be eligible for loss of earnings, any injury must have resulted in a total inability or very limited capacity to undertake paid work for a period of 28 weeks or more. If you are capable of work, but your injuries are restricting what you can do, you will not qualify. You must also be able to provide the CICA with evidence to prove that you were in work at the time or that you have an established work history during the 3 years prior to the incident. Alternatively, you must have a good reason for not having an established history, including being in full-time education, or unable to work by reason of age or caring responsibilities.
If you are eligible to claim for loss of earnings, this will only be payable from week 29 onwards, where you cannot claim for the first 28 weeks of loss. The length of any payment will then be calculated either until you are no longer incapable of paid work, the day you are due to reach state pension age or your expected end of life where your injury has shortened that period. The payment for loss of earnings will be calculated based on the rate of statutory sick pay applicable at the time a decision is made, reduced according to the multiplier tables and discount factors set out at Annex F of the CICA scheme.
To be eligible to claim special expenses, your criminal injury must have been so serious that you have either been unable to work or incapacitated to a similar extent for longer than 28 weeks. However, unlike payments for loss of earnings which are payable only from week 29, any recoverable expenses will be payable from the actual date of injury.
These expenses could include things like the cost of care, home adaptations or mobility aids, provided these costs are reasonable and deemed necessary as a direct result of your injury. Equally, similar provision must not be available for free from any other source. You can also claim for the reasonable cost to replace any physical aids damaged as a result of a violent crime, such as dentures, walking sticks and/or glasses.
Examples of criminal injury claims payouts
Awards of compensation for criminal injury claims can include amounts for either physical or psychological injury suffered as a result of violent crime, ranging from £1,000 to as much as £250,000. However, to qualify for an award, your injury must fall within the tariff of injuries set out under Annex E of the scheme, where the CICA must pay an award in accordance with these prescribed amounts, based on the severity of your injuries.
When it comes to multiple physical injuries, these will be compensated under the scheme on a staggered scale. Only the severest three will be included in the compensation calculation, where the lesser two of those injuries will attract a reduced tariff. This means that you may be entitled to the full tariff value for the most serious injury, so 100%, but only 30% of the tariff amount for the injury with the second highest value, plus 15% of the amount for any additional injury with the third highest value. Each award is then added together to calculate the full compensation that you may be entitled to.
The follow case study illustrates how this works in practice:
Following a night out at local pub, John was involved in an altercation that was not his fault, resulting in a fractured eye socket, significant facial scarring and a broken forearm. He also needed an operation. In this case, John would be awarded 100% for his fractured eye socket (£2,400); 30% for the facial scarring (£720); and 15% for the broken forearm (£225). Provided John reported the assault to the police and co-operated with the police, and does not have any unspent criminal convictions, he would receive a total of £3,345 in compensation. If John did have a previous conviction, this may result in either a reduction of his award or, in some cases, a total rejection of his application.
How long does a CICA claim take?
Having submitted your application for compensation, the CICA will need to check carefully that you are entitled to an award. This means that they will need to contact the police to ensure that the incident was reported without unreasonable delay, unless the matter relates to historic abuse, or you were unable to immediately report the matter due to an injury or other incapacity. The CICA will also request confirmation that your own behaviour did not in any way contribute to the incident in which you sustained your injuries, that you fully co-operated with the police, and whether you have any criminal record.
The CICA will seek medical proof of the injury, or injuries, for which you are seeking an award of compensation by contacting your GP and/or any hospital where you received treatment. In particular, the CICA will want to ensure that any injury you are claiming for was caused in consequence of the violent incident in question and not because of something else. The CICA may also sometimes request a report from a specialist consultant.
The types of enquiries necessary to validate criminal injury claims can take time. The CICA may additionally request further evidence from yourself including, amongst other things, proof of any loss of earnings or special expenses, where relevant. Importantly, you are required to give all reasonable assistance to the CICA in connection with your application at all times, where the CICA may refuse or reduce and award if you fail to do so.
It is only once all enquiries are complete can the CICA assess the value of your award, where it can take several months before an offer is received, although the CICA aim to assess most applications within 12 months. In complex cases, where a final decision cannot be made because the CICA are waiting until the long term impact of your criminal injury is understood, you may be awarded an interim payment. However, the CICA must be satisfied that you will have an entitlement to compensation of a certain value, likely to be lower than any final award. Any interim payment will then be deducted from your final award.
Criminal injuries compensation FAQs
How much compensation do you get for criminal injuries?
The amount of criminal injuries compensation you will get will depend on the nature and severity of the injury suffered as a result of a violent crime, where there are set tariffs used by the criminal injuries compensation authority (CICA).
Who can claim criminal injuries compensation?
To be eligible to claim criminal injuries compensation, you must be living in the UK and the crime must have happened in Great Britain. You must also have reported the matter to the police and claim within 2 years.
Can I get compensation for being attacked?
You may be entitled to claim compensation for being attacked under the criminal injuries compensation scheme if you were not to blame for any altercation, and you report the matter and fully co-operate with the police.
How much compensation will I get for assault UK?
The amount of compensation that you may be awarded for being assaulted in the UK will depend on how seriously you were injured in that attack. However, you may be able to claim for both physical and/or psychological injuries.
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.