Insult to injury: how the criminal injuries compensation system is failing victims of crime

The way forward

"I know from past experience how important these awards can be. They can often be the cut-off point for many victims from the pain of the past to the hope of the future."
Victim Support co-ordinator

We have some central concerns about how the CICS is currently constituted.

Victim Support believes that state compensation should recognise, on behalf of society, the experience that victims of crime have suffered and help people recover from it and to live as normal a life as possible.

Compensation has an important role in demonstrating that society cares about what has happened. But the scheme compounds - not helps - the harm caused to someone if it denies a compensation award on the grounds that they do not deserve it (ie because of the type of the crime, or if they were living with the offender).

The financial cost of crime to society is huge; the emotional cost incalculable. However, this cost is not spread evenly across society. The physical and emotional harm done to victims cannot be undone by society, but society can offer its support to people affected by crime. Nobody is claiming that financial compensation can make up for the harm done to victims but it can help to relieve financial problems, which may add to the stress caused by crime.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme as it is currently constituted is unfair and divisive. Victim Support believes that the forthcoming review of the CICS provides an ideal opportunity to remedy these problems. By taking action on the issues we have raised in this report, we believe the government could deliver real improvements for some of the most vulnerable victims of crime.

Note
Names and details of all 'case studies' have been changed to protect identities.

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