Victim Support Manifesto 2001 - Compensation

Victims who have suffered injury or loss as a result of a crime are entitled to compensation. Some will need advice about claiming on their insurance policy or obtaining a grant from the Social Fund or, if nothing else is available, help with applying to charitable trusts, all of which Victim Support can provide. Where a crime has been detected, an offender may be required to pay direct compensation either through the courts or, in the case of a young offender, through the restorative justice process. Victim Support believes that such compensation should be paid as a single payment by the court and recovered from the offender, rather than paid in irregular and sometimes incomplete instalments by the offender over a period of many months, as happens under the current system.

Whether or not there has been a conviction, victims of violent crime are able to claim Criminal Injuries Compensation. Such compensation is intended to recognise on behalf of society the experience which victims have suffered and to help the victim to recover from it and to live as normal a life as is possible in the circumstances.

Discounting compensation awards for means-tested benefits

When Richard received £15,000 in Criminal Injuries Compensation for injuries he suffered in a serious assault, his benefits were stopped. This was because the award was higher than the capital allowance for people in receipt of means-tested benefits. Richard had to spend his compensation on rent and subsistence until most of it had gone.

Victim Support believes that it is wrong that people like Richard should be deprived of the benefit of compensation, when the better off can keep their award. The Department of Social Security should not take a Criminal Injuries Compensation award into account when assessing a person's eligibility for means-tested benefits.

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