Following the recent changes to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority’s (CICA) compensation scheme designed to compensate innocent victims of violent crime the Government has introduced their new hardship fund.
The £500,000 fund is a discretionary fund which provides relief from hardship to very low paid workers who are temporarily unable to work as a result of their injuries sustained in violet crime against them. This fund only applies to those in very low paid employment, although this is not defined, and to those not entitled to statutory sick pay or sick pay through an employer scheme. Victims will also only be eligible for payment from the fund if they report the accident to the police as soon as is reasonably practicable and application is made within four weeks of the incident. If a victim has an unspent conviction themselves, then they are not eligible to apply. The biggest exclusion however is that it only applies to victims in England and Wales cutting victims of crime in Scotland out of the fund completely.
The introduction of this fund is a feeble attempt by the Coalition Government trying to show that it is on the side of the victims who are hit the hardest by violent crime. However by excluding an entire nation and expecting and fund of a mere £500,000 to meet the need of those effected by violent crime in England and Wales it fall very short of addressing the injustice of the changes implemented removing tariff’s one to five for those suffering ‘minor injury.’