Crime compensation awarded by the UK Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) can be substantial. A victim of crime eligible to make a claim for compensation can be a person who is injured, a witness to the incident which involved violence or a person who is related to a victim of violent crime. Criminal injury compensation is available for both physical injuries and psychological injuries which may be the result of physical assault, sexual assault including rape, domestic violence and abuse, robbery, aggravated burglary, stalking, threats to kill, murder, culpable driving and other crime involving violence. There are very strict time limits for victims of crime to make an application to the CICA and legal advice should be obtained from injury compensation solicitors with a view to making an application for an award as soon as possible after the incident.
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
In most cases the criminal court has the power to award damages at the time the offender is sentenced, alternatively the victim may take out a civil action for damages however the usual course of action for the injured victim is for their injury compensation solicitorsto make an application To the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority which may make an award if:-
The offender is impecunious and does not have funds enough to satisfy any award.
The offender is not apprehended or cannot be brought to justice.
The victim was injured whilst assisting the police or preventing a crime.
The offense was murder or manslaughter entitling a spouse and children to claim.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof for a criminal conviction is one of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ whereas to succeed on a claim for compensation as a victim of crime it is only necessary to prove that on balance of probabilities the offender deliberately did an act which caused the injury. Whilst it is much easier for ainjury compensation solicitorsto prove a case for criminal injuries compensation where there is a conviction it is not necessary.
Co-operation & Conduct
In most cases the victims conduct, before, during and after the incident is taken into consideration during assessment of any award. Conduct which may affect the award includes both physical conduct and verbal conduct including the extent of any drunken behaviour. The victim must in addition have co-operated fully with the police and relevant authorities including reporting the incident which gave rise to the injury expeditiously, giving fully and detailed information and attendance at court as a prosecution witness as required. If the victim was in the process of committing an indictable offence at the time of the injury, then an award may be refused.
If a victim of crime is not satisfied with the award then an application for appeal can be made by injury compensation solicitorsto a tribunal called the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeal Tribunal (CICAP. There are time limits for making an appeal which should not under any circumstances be delayed. The victim and/or their legal representative may adduce evidence and may make submissions which may be countered by a representative from the CICA. Whilst the tribunal decision is final a further appeal can be made to a court of law on a ‘point of law’ only.