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Violent crime impacts victims in many ways.  If the perpetrator is caught, the victim may have to be a witness in the criminal case.  This means they may have to deal with the police, prosecutors, and even give evidence in court.  All of this is on top of dealing with any serious physical and psychological injury they have suffered as a result of the crime.  Little is done in this process to cater for the needs of the victim or offer any compensation.   

Iain CorbettNo amount of money will make it so that the crime never happened.  However, it is possible to seek some compensation for serious injuries suffered.  In many cases, the perpetrator does not have the resources to pay any money to victims, even when the court has ordered them to do so.  Accordingly there is often little point in proceeding against the perpetrator directly.    

In these circumstances the injured party can turn to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).  This is a government backed scheme which pays compensation to victims of violent crime where they have suffered serious injuries.  Only certain serious injuries will attract an award from the scheme.  

The application process is completed online, where the details of the crime and injuries are taken so that eligibility can be assessed.  For example, a person may not claim if they participated in the crime or if they have a criminal record.  It is also essential that the claim be reported to the police as soon as reasonably practicable and that the victim co-operates as far as reasonably practicable in bringing the perpetrator to justice.  There are other such requirements, and expert advice should be sought in each individual case.

After the application is submitted, there is a period of time where the CICA carry out investigations.  When the investigations are complete, they will advise whether or not in their assessment the victim is entitled to an award from the scheme.   

Blog by Iain Corbett, Accident Lawyer

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