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Stewart WhiteThe Government forced through a change to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme that came into being last week, and as a consequence, means that a large proportion of victims of violent crimes will now no longer qualify for compensation.

The Government is seeking to avoid paying out for people who suffer from minor injuries even though they were suffered as a consequence of a crime of violence.  Allied with that, they are tightening the belt for claims for loss of earnings meaning that only statutory sick pay rates will be paid for those who are unable to work because of their injuries so they will also suffer the consequences of the change to the scheme.

The Ministry of Justice claim that the ‘taxpayers’ money saved will be better spent on providing support.  I can’t think of what support they are referring to which isn’t already available.

We at Thompsons represent people assaulted at work and train drivers who are unfortunate enough to witness a suicide will also be affected.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority was set up to provide compensation to victims of violent crime.  These innocent victims whose compensation rises in line with the severity of their injuries could find that they may receive at worst nothing at all or reduced amounts.  Unfortunately, there is no other redress for victims of violent crime because the assailants are invariably men and women of straw, so personal injury claims against them, albeit successful are unlikely to be paid.  The Union we represent, USDAW, estimate that in the region of 50 per cent of victims currently eligible for compensation will receive nothing in the future and up to 40 per cent will see their compensation claim severely reduced.  

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