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Victim Support's policy work

Information on Compensation

From the Offender
From C.I.C.A
State Benefit Deductions

Victims of crime may be entitled to compensation. Losses/damage resulting from incidents of burglary, theft, arson may be covered by the victim's own insurance arrangements.

Compensation from the Offender

If the perpetrator of the crime is caught and convicted the Court has to consider compensation from the offender. Victims can be compensated for personal injury, losses because of theft of, or damage to property, losses because of fraud, loss of earnings while off work, medical expenses, travelling expenses, pain and suffering, loss, damage or injury caused to or by a stolen vehicle. The application for compensation is made by the Prosecution, who will require accurate details of the loss/damage.

Compensation is payable before any fine but is limited to what the offender can reasonably afford. It may not cover loss/damage in full and is often paid in instalments. The compensation payments are made to the Court who then pass it on to the victim. It is the job of the Court to ensure that the offender pays the compensation. Questions concerning the compensation ordered by the Court should be addressed to the Clerk of the Court not the offender.

Victims also have a right to sue the offender in the Civil Courts but should seek advice from a Solicitor before considering this. Some firms of solicitors will offer at least half an hour of free advice and your local Scheme should be able to inform you which firms do this. Whether to sue will depend very much on the means of the offender or how any judgement can be paid.

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Compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

If the victim has been injured as a result of a crime of violence then application may be made to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. Local Victim Support schemes all have the appropriate application forms but they can also be obtained direct from the CICA.

Victim Support can help you complete the application for compensation, FREE.

It is not necessary that an offender be prosecuted for the victim to get compensation.

Crimes of violence usually involve a physical attack on the person, for example assaults, wounding and sexual offences. This is not always so, however and the CICA judges every case on the basis of its circumstances.

The injury must have been sustained in Great Britain. Injuries sustained elsewhere, for example on holiday abroad, are not eligible although there could be a remedy under a similar scheme in force in the country concerned. Northern Ireland has its own scheme.

The victim has to make application within two years of the date of the incident giving rise to the injury. Applications outside this period will not be considered unless the CICA consider that in the particular circumstances of the case it is reasonable and in the interests of justice to do so. 

Late applications will be sympathetically considered from and on behalf of victims whose ability to help themselves is or was impaired and from those who were under the age of 18 at the time of the incident, provided the application is received within reasonable time of the victim reaching 18. 

Careful consideration will also be given to an out of time application, if the injuries only became apparent some time after the incident which caused them, provided the application is made as soon as possible after discovering the cause and the details of the incident can be investigated and verified by the CICA.

Qualification for an award necessitates a physical and or mental injury, sufficiently serious to be classified in one of the Tariff bands attached to the Scheme. Level 1 is 1,000 rising to Level 25 250,000. Minor injuries such as scratches or bruises alone will not qualify for an award but if there is a combination of minor injuries which cause at least two visits to a Doctor for treatment and recovery takes at least 6 weeks then the victim may qualify.

Payment of compensation for injury as a result of a crime of violence is intended to be an expression of public sympathy and support for innocent victims. Under the terms of the CICA Scheme it is deemed inappropriate for those with significant criminal records or those whose own conduct led to their being injured, to receive compensation from public funds. It is also felt that people who failed to co-operate in bringing the offender to justice should not benefit from such payments.

Victim Support Schemes have full details of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and will give appropriate assistance to victims.

More details of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme can be found on their Website 

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State Benefit Deductions

Payment of compensation to those victims receiving State benefit can result in those benefits being affected. Where the award brings the victim over the upper capital limit, this can mean that the benefits will stop altogether and the victim will have to live off the compensation award until the money drops below the limit.

Current capital limits for income related benefits are as follows:

Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance. Family Credit: lower limit 3,000, upper limit 8,000

Disability Working Allowance, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit: lower limit 3,000, upper limit 16,000.

More details are on the Benefits Agency website.

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(c) Victim Support
This page was last revised:14/06/01
Victim Support National Office, Cranmer House, 39 Brixton Road, London SW9 6DZ.
Tel. 020 7735 9166, fax 020 7582 5712,