For property

If you are insured, you may be covered for any loss or damage from burglary, theft or arson. If you are not insured, you may be able to get compensation from the offender through the criminal or civil courts (see below).

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For personal injury

You may be able to get compensation for your injuries in one of three ways:

(More information about these three options is given below).

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Getting compensation from the offender in the criminal court

If an offender is convicted, the criminal court may order him or her to pay you compensation. You can be compensated for personal injury, losses from theft or damage to property, losses from fraud, being off work, medical expenses, travel expenses, pain and suffering, or loss, damage or injury caused to or by a stolen vehicle. Tell the police if you would like the court to consider this kind of compensation. They will need to get accurate details from you about the loss or damage. The Crown Prosecution Service will then make the request in court.

If the court decides to order compensation, it will be limited to what the offender can afford and may depend on the sentence the court has already ordered. For example, if the offender receives a prison sentence, the court will not usually order him or her to pay compensation. The compensation may not cover the full cost of your damage or loss and often the offender will be able to pay it in instalments. The offender makes the payments to the court, which will then pass the money on to you. The court is responsible for making sure that the offender pays the compensation.

If you have any questions about the compensation ordered by the court, you should speak to the clerk of the court or the court manager, and not to the offender.

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Suing the offender in the civil courts

You have the right to sue the offender in the civil courts whether or not he or she has been convicted in the criminal courts. But it is sensible to get advice from a solicitor before considering this. Some solicitors' firms offer at least half an hour of free advice. Your local branch of Victim Support should be able to tell you which firms do this. You can also find out more about this at your local Citizen's Advice Bureau. When deciding whether or not to sue, you will need to consider the offender's income and how they will pay you the money.

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Claiming Criminal Injuries Compensation

If you have been injured by violent crime, you can apply for compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme. This scheme is funded by the government as a way of providing "an expression of public sympathy for innocent victims of violent crime." It does not matter whether the offender has been caught, but there are other rules which affect your chances of receiving any money. Your local branch of Victim Support can explain how you can claim Criminal Injuries Compensation and can help you to make your claim. We can give you an application form and guidance documents and can help you to fill out the form.

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