Don’t be caught out! Things you need to know when making a Criminal Injuries Compensation Award (“CICA”) claim

By Nikki Przewoznik, Trainee Solicitor, Child Abuse Claims

CICA v Civil claim

The CICA scheme, which is scheme run by the government, is intended to be a last resort when all other ways to gain compensation have been tried.  The scheme can be an alternative to a civil claim and can help victims get some form of compensation where the abuser/attacker cannot be sued or would not be worth suing.

If an attacker/abuser does not have any money or assets (such as owning a house, car, business, savings etc.) it is unlikely that they would have any money to pay you compensation. It is also unlikely that you could make a civil claim if you do not know the identity of the abuser/attacker or where they are living. It may also be that the attacker/abuser has died which can also cause difficulties in bringing a civil claim.

The CICA recognises that the above would be unfair to a blameless victim of a violent crime who has been left with injuries. The CICA scheme was therefore set up to help compensate those victims.

One of the advantages of the scheme is that it will usually pay out money to victims of violent crime that would otherwise not receive any award of compensation.

Although you can make both a CICA and a civil claim, if you succeed in your civil claim, you will be expected to pay the CICA back any money that you may have already received from them. This is because you cannot be compensated twice for the same incident.  

  1. When should I make a claim?

A claim should be made within 2 years of the date of the incident itself.

Don’t wait for the outcome of police investigations or court cases to make an application. Whilst this is helpful to the CICA, your claim is not dependant on the attacker/abuser being convicted… or even being identified.

Make your CICA application straight away as a claim made after the 2 year period is likely to be rejected.  

If you make an application and there is an ongoing civil claim or criminal investigation the CICA are likely to place your application on hold but it will stop the 2 year time limit from running out.

  1. What if my claim is related to historical sexual abuse?

The rule is slightly different for these cases and the 2 year time limit will start running once the abuse has been reported to the police.

The CICA will make a decision on your claim based upon the evidence and statement you have provided to the police and how you have worked with the police during their investigations. It’s therefore important that you co-operate with the police. You should still aim to make your application as soon as ever possible.

  1. Can I still make a CICA claim if I do not know the abuser/attacker?

The identity of the abuser/attacker is not essential for making a CICA claim. The CICA will look at the efforts made by the police to locate the attacker/abuser and also the information which the police have been able to gather.

  1. Can I make a claim if the attacker/abuser has died?

Yes, an application can still be made even if the attacker/abuser has died.

  1. I do not know where my abuser/attacker is or they are living outside the UK. Can I still make a claim?

A claim may still be made to the CICA even when the abuser or attackers’ whereabouts are unknown or cannot be located.

A claim can also be made even if you or the attacker/abuser are living outside of the UK. However the scheme can only make an award of compensation if the actual incident happened in the UK.

  1. What will I need to provide to make a claim?

You will need your crime reference number. This is a number given to you by the police once you have logged a crime or complaint with them. This is important as the CICA will use this number when asking the police for details about the crime. It is also important that you work with the police and help with their investigations by providing information and details they ask for in good time.

The CICA may ask you for further information and evidence and this too should be given to them in a timely manner. This may be information relating to any loss of earnings you have had because of the incident or medical evidence to show your injuries.  

The CICA will usually give a deadline to submit information, if this deadline is not met it may result in your application being rejected.

  1. Will the CICA look at psychological injuries?

The CICA will only consider making an award for psychological injuries where a clinical diagnosis has been made by a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist.

Injuries such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, personality disorder, nightmares and flashbacks must be formally diagnosed. The CICA will not make an award where a diagnosis is made by a GP, doctor, therapist or counsellor.

It is really important that you attend upon your GP if you are suffering psychologically so that your doctor can refer you on for a formal diagnosis and so that you can access the right treatment.

  1. How much should I expect to receive?

The CICA scheme has a banding tariff which sets a figure per injury.  The injury awards are banded from £1,000 – £500,000.

The CICA will only pay out for a maximum of 3 injuries. If you have more than one injury, the CICA will pay 100% for the most serious injury, 30% for the second most serious injury and 15% for the third injury.

Once you have accepted an award, compensation is paid within 21 days.

  1. I think I am eligible to make CICA claim, where should I begin?

If you haven’t already reported the abuse/ assault to the police you should start there.

Switalskis Solicitors CICA department would then be able to assist you by completing and submitting the application for you and help with gathering any evidence needed for your claim to be successful.

You can of course submit a CICA application yourself at no cost to you however we have substantial experience in making such applications and understanding the requirements of the CICA to ensure you are awarded the right settlement.

If you would like any further information please contact Nikki Przewoznik by on 01924 882000 or by email Nikki.Przewoznik@Switalskis.com for a confidential chat.