If I have been a victim of a violent crime, am I entitled to compensation?
Yes you are. Every person in England and Wales who is a blameless victim of violent and sexual crime is entitled to compensation. Victims under 18 can have applications made on their behalf.
What is a violent crime?
A violent crime is someone who assaults another person physically or causes immediate fear of harm either intentionally or recklessly that causes either physical or psychological injury. This includes sexual assault where there was no consent and fire/arson attacks.
Does the person who attacked me have to be convicted for me to get any compensation?
No – Provided the violent crime has been reported to the police, there is no need for the attacker to be convicted. In some cases there may not be enough evidence to convict a person or police error may result in no criminal prosecution but you could still be entitled to compensation.
Does my attacker pay the compensation to me?
No – The compensation is paid from a government body specifically setup to pay compensation to victims of violent and sexual crime up to a maximum of £500,000 per person.
Should I wait until after my attacker has been to court to make a claim or seek advice?
No – Do not delay in looking to make a claim. You only have 2 years from the date of the attack to make an application for compensation. If you wait until after a criminal trial, you may miss this deadline.
Will I have to see my attacker again if I make a claim?
No – When you make an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) they will request the police file and review what happened to you. They will then consider what medical evidence they might need to assess your injuries. There will be no involvement directly with your attacker when making a claim nor will they be notified.
What do I have to do to make a claim?
The process is very easy to get started. You simply visit the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority website at www.cica.gov.uk. Once there you simply follow the instructions to apply for compensation which involves filling in a form or having someone make the application on your behalf.
What will the CICA ask me to do once I make an application?
The CICA will usually request the police file and for your consent to access your medical records to assess the injuries you have sustained. Often they will ask you to attend a medical examination (possibly several) to clarify the exact injuries suffered and what further effect they will have on you and what treatment you might need.
Can I claim for any other losses such as not being able to work?
Yes – Provided the injury suffered causes the loss then you can claim for things such as loss of earnings, treatment costs, adaptations to a property and certain type of care.
How long does a claim take?
This is a difficult question, the CICA is a very overworked body and claims can be slow in being processed. It can take up to 2-3 years in some cases to reach a conclusion.
Should I seek legal advice about compensation when I have been attacked and who from?
This is up to you. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) can often be a good start point for advice about a claim. www.citizensadvice.org.uk
A solicitor can assist greatly in ensuring that you receive the correct amount of compensation for the injuries suffered, especially in cases where the extent of the injuries may not be clear to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. The CAB can advise you of local solicitors who may be able assist you.
Solicitors will often work on a ‘no win, no fee basis’ so if you do not obtain any compensation, you do not have to pay them. If you are successful, the can charge up to a maximum of 25% of any compensation you obtain. You can however pursue a claim for compensation yourself.