Crime victims see compensation slashed

Victims of violent crime who suffer minor injuries will no longer be eligible for compensation following changes to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICA).

In September 2012 the Justice Minister Helen Grant had promised to reconsider plans to reform the CICA scheme including the scrapping of five payment levels following protests by unions and Victim Support groups. However, despite her promise, the plans were approved at parliamentary committee stage at the beginning of November 2012.

The Ministry of Justice insists it is still “preserving compensation to the most seriously injured victims“.

Kim Sme​rdon, a solicitor specialising in CICA claims, commented: “The changes to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme mean that compensation is restricted to those who suffer very serious injuries. It is estimated that the changes will reduce the annual £450m bill by approximately £50m. Whilst we support the effort to preserve compensation for the most seriously injured victims of crime, we are very concerned that approximately 90% of innocent victims of crime may no longer receive compensation as a result of their injuries. Although the Ministry of Justice has stated that, from December, courts must consider imposing a compensation order as part of criminal sentences, and where they have caused injury, this is unlikely to assist victims of crime who have to take time off work because of their injuries and are not covered by a sick pay scheme. We understand that a £500,000 hardship fund will be created but this is likely to be used very quickly.”

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