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5.8.2 Criminal Injuries Compensation

RELATED GUIDANCE

Ministry of Justice, Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in November 2015 with regard to time limits, (see Section 1, The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme) CICAs Response (see Section 4, The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority's Response) and the Award (see Section 6, The Award).


Contents

  1. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme
  2. Application Procedure
  3. Guidelines for Social Worker's Report to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
  4. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority's Response
  5. Review and Appeal
  6. The Award
  7. Advancing Money from the Award to the Child
  8. When a Young Person is 18


1. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme

Compensations may be paid by the Criminal Injuries Compensations Authority to the victims of crimes of violence, including the close relatives of any person who has died as the result of a crime of violence. The definition of a crime of violence includes both sexual offences, physical assault and psychological disturbance, as well as arson, poisoning, the deliberate use of an animal or motor vehicle as a weapon etc.

The Local Authority has a responsibility to look after the best interests of the children in its care. This includes making an application for compensation where appropriate. On reaching the age of 18 years, a successful claimant may be credited with a substantial amount of money (usually several thousand pounds). Although any amount of money will not fully compensate for the abuse suffered by the child or young person, compensation may at least provide some financial security. (Note however that If the CICA receive evidence that it would not be in the child’s best interests to be given the payment as a lump sum at age 18, they may consider  the use of an annuity or a trust at that time).

Where the child is not in the subject of a Care Order, responsibility for making an application rests with their Parent or other person with Parental Responsibility, who should be advised to consult their solicitor.

Time Limits

In the case of family violence, compensation is payable for incidents occurring on or after 1st October 1979.

Applications should always be made as soon as possible and in general,  must be made within 2 years of the event giving rise to the claim. However, where the applicant was under 18 at the time of the incident special provision is made regarding timescales as follows:

  • If the incident or period of abuse was reported to the police before the young person turned 18, a claim will be accepted up to the young person’s 20th birthday;
  • If the incident or period of abuse took place before the young person turned 18, but was not reported to the police at the time, a claim will be accepted within two years of the date when the incident was first reported to the police.
Reports to the police should be made as soon as is reasonably practicable.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority may, however, waive this requirement in exceptional circumstances e.g. if the injury was not apparent until some time after the incident. Sympathetic consideration will be given to late applications made by, or on behalf of, people under the age of 18 and from victims whose ability to submit an application was, or is impaired.

It is not necessary to wait until someone has been convicted of the offence before applying for compensation.

Application Conditions

The conditions for making an application are:

  • That the applicant has suffered a physical or mental injury;
  • That the injury was sustained in Great Britain;
  • That the injury arose directly from a crime of violence, or an attempt to prevent an offence or an attempt to catch an offender;
  • That the injury was serious enough to qualify for the minimum award payable under the scheme (at the time of writing this was £1,000);
  • That there is no likelihood that the person who caused the injury would benefit from any award.

Mental injury means a medically recognised psychiatric or psychological illness. Where mental injury is present without physical injury, compensation is not payable unless:

  • The applicant was put in reasonable fear of immediate physical harm; or
  • A person with whom the applicant had a close relationship sustained a physical injury due to a crime of violence and the applicant witnessed it or was closely involved in the immediate aftermath; or
  • The applicant was the non-consenting victim of a sexual offence.

Claims are assessed on the basis of the balance of probability rather than on proof beyond reasonable doubt. There may therefore be cases when compensation is payable although no-one is to be prosecuted for the offence or the alleged offender has been found not guilty.

There are further conditions if the victim and the offender were living in the same household as members of the same family at the time of the crime. These are:

  • That the offender has been prosecuted, or there are practical, technical or other good reasons why the prosecution has not been brought; and
  • In the case of violence between adults, that the applicant and the offender stopped living in the same household before the applications and are unlikely to do so again. This does not apply if the victim was a child, but in this case the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority will take particular care in satisfying itself that the offender will not benefit from any award and that making an award will not act against the child's interests.

The Applicant

An application for compensation should be made by the victim of the offence. If the victim is under the age of 18, the application must be made by an adult who has Parental Responsibility for him/her. If the victim is the subject of a Care Order, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority will expect any application to be made by the Local Authority named in the order (See Section 2, Application Procedure). In all other situations application should be made by a person who holds Parental responsibility for the child, even if the child is Accommodated by the Local Authority. The Children's Social Care has no power to apply on behalf of a child who is not in its care.

Note: Free advice may also be available to carers from organisations such as Victim Support and  Citizens Advice Bureau.

Calculation of the Award

At the time of writing the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme is based on a tariff. Various injuries are assigned to a series of tariff levels. Each level has a tariff payment assigned to it. If the victim suffers two or more separate injuries, the award is calculated as the tariff value for the highest related injury and a percentage of the second and third highest.

The tariff levels include an element of compensation for shock. Shock also appears on the tariff, assigned to several levels, depending on the length of time for which symptoms persist. If the effect of the shock is such that it would fall into a higher tariff band than the physical injury, then the award for the shock will be paid rather than the award for the injury.

An award may be reduced or withheld if:

  • The applicant failed to inform the Police, or any other appropriate agency or person, of the the offence, or if he/she delayed reporting the offence. If the victim was a child who told an adult, any failure of that person to inform the Police will not normally be taken into account;
  • The applicant has failed to cooperate with the Police investigating the offence and prosecuting the offender;
  • The applicant has failed to give reasonable assistance to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, e.g. by refusing to comply with requests for information;
  • The applicant's conduct before, during or after the award make it inappropriate to grant a full award, e.g. if the applicant's behaviour contributed toward the offence, or if he/she was injured while attempting to commit a crime;
  • The applicant has criminal convictions, whether or not they are related to the incident in which the injury was caused. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority applies a system by which penalty points are given depending on the sentence and the length of time since conviction. The award will be reduced by a percentage which depends on the number of penalty points.

An award will be reduced by the amount of any compensation or damages received in respect of the same injuries. If an award is made and compensation or damages is later paid to the applicant, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority will require payment.

Injuries resulting in death

If the victim has died as a result of injuries received in a crime of violence, application may be made for a "fatal award". In this case the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority may make an award even if the victim received an award whilst he/she was alive. Application for fatal award may be made by:

  • The victim's spouse, including anyone who has lived with him/her as husband or wife for at least two years up to the time of his/her death;
  • The victim's Parents, including anyone he/she accepted as a Parent;
  • The victim's children, including anyone who was accepted by the victim as a child of his/her family.


2. Application Procedure

Complete the application form online at Justice, Govenment Website. Applicants who do not have access to a computer or you would like help to complete their application can ask a member of the CICA’s staff to complete the form over the telephone (0300 003 3601). See Read A Guide to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2012.

You should also seek advice from the Legal Department at this time.

The Children's Social Care has a special arrangement with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority to speed up the processing of compensation applications. Under this arrangement, the supporting evidence (e.g. medical reports, police statements and school reports) is submitted with the application. In addition to speeding up the processing of the application it enables the Social Worker to gather the information rather than have another agency make enquiries into the child's life at what is often a very sensitive time.

Consideration should be given to making an application in respect of any child who:

  • Is in the care of Children's Social Care; and
  • Has been the victim of a crime of violence.

In all other cases, responsibility for making any application rests with the child's Parents who should be advised to seek appropriate advice.

At the Initial Child Protection Conference the possibility of applying on behalf of the child for criminal injuries compensation should be considered, whether or not any person has been identified as the perpetrator of the abuse. The Conference should take into account the possibility that payment of compensation might act against the child's interests, either now or in the future. If the issue is not clear at the time of the first Conference, the question should be reconsidered at each Child Protection Review Conference until a definite decision has been made. Staff should remember that there is a time limit of two years between the injury and the application and, although the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority will view late applications on behalf of children sympathetically, delay should be minimised.

It should be noted that the responsibility for deciding whether to apply rests with Children's Social Care. The Social Worker should seek legal advice and, in any case where it is considered that an application should NOT be made, they should prepare a memorandum to the Designated Manager (Criminal Injuries). The memorandum should set out the reasons as to why an application should not be pursued and should be endorsed by the Team Leader and Designated Manager (Criminal Injuries).

Where appropriate the views of the child and his/her Parents and Carers should be sought. The child's Parents should normally be told of the intention to apply for compensation, but Staff should be aware of the potential sensitivity of the issues involved. The Social Worker and Team Leader will discuss:

  • When to tell them;
  • How much detail to give; and
  • Whether to keep them informed of the progress of the application and the amount of any award.

These decisions will be made in the light of the child's Care Plan, with the assumption that the Parents should be told as much as possible unless this would act against the child's welfare of would be likely to cause Significant Harm to another person.

In any discussion with the child's Parents, the Social Worker should give clear information about the unusual arrangements for the administration of any award and about the need to assure the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority that the person who caused the injury will not benefit from any award. It should be stressed that, if the compensation is paid, it will not be immediately handed over to the child as spending money.

If the decision is that compensation should be applied for, when a full Care Order is made the Keyworker will request reports (or permission to use reports which are already on the child's file) so that a claim can be made on behalf of the child. Whenever possible the following reports should be sought (there are standard letters requesting each of these):

  • Medical and/or psychological reports covering the first examination of the child, the consequences of the abuse, the child's current condition and prognosis. If a medical report is written specifically for the application the Department will offer a fee in accordance with the BMA scales. This fee will be reimbursed by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. The Police Surgeon's report is normally supplied by the Police, free of charge;
  • Police Reports on their involvement and the outcome of any criminal proceedings, including witness statements. If there has been no conviction it will be helpful if the Police give an opinion as to how genuine the complaint is. It is Police policy to destroy reports after three years so, if a Police report which is more than three years old is on the file, a copy of the report should be enclosed with the letter asking for the consent of the Police to release it to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority;
  • School Report. The head teacher should be asked to provide a written assessment if the child's educational progress or behaviour at school is felt to be relevant to the application;
  • Any other reports relevant to the application.

N.B. If any report was prepared for Court proceedings and has been filed with the Court, it must not be disclosed without the consent of the Court.

When the reports have been received, the Social Worker will write a report setting out the facts of the claim. Guidelines for this report are set out below.

The following papers make up the application:

  • A copy of the child's full birth certificate;
  • A copy of the Care Order;
  • Police Reports;
  • Medical Reports;
  • School Reports;
  • Social Worker's Report;
  • Any other relevant reports;
  • A covering letter stating what evidence is being provided and indicating that all correspondence relating to offers of awards should be addressed to the Designated Manager (Criminal Injuries).

Once the papers have been collated, the Social Worker should forward them for legal advice. The covering letter should then be signed by the Designated Manager (Criminal Injuries).

The Social Worker will send the application to The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.


3. Guidelines for Social Worker's Report to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

The following information should be included in the Social Worker's report:

  • The child's name and date of birth;
  • Family details and relationships;
  • A brief family history;
  • A brief history of the child to date;
  • The child's present circumstances;
  • The child's circumstances at the time of the injury;
  • The action taken;
  • Whether or not prosecution took place and if not, why not;
  • The dates and places of any medical examinations, psychological or psychiatric assessments, education reports and any other relevant reports. Indicate which of these are to be enclosed with the application;
  • A pen picture of the child at the present time;
  • If appropriate, the child's view of the injury. This child may wish to write about this him/herself;
  • The Parents' and Carers' view of the injury;
  • An estimate of the present and future effect of the injury on the child in terms of his/her physical, emotional and psychological state, relationships, health, mobility, etc;
  • Future plans, including the prospect of the child being re-united with the offender;
  • Any other relevant information.

Copies of the Report should be retained for the child and for the file.


4. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority's Response

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority will either

  • Make an offer, giving reasons for any reduction in the award; or
  • Reject the application giving reasons.

On receipt of the response, the Social Worker will forward a copy to the Legal Services for advice, after which the Pod Team Manager and (if the child is over 11 years old) the applicant; or by the parents/adoptive parents if the child is in their care, will decide whether to accept the award.

If this offer is accepted, the acceptance form must be completed and returned within 56 days of it being sent. (If it is not returned within 56 days, and no written request has been made for a  review, a payment will not be made).

The CICA may extend the 56-day time limit for up to a further 56 days. Only one such extension may be allowed.

The Designated Manager (Criminal Injuries) will:

  • Sign the form accepting the offer and return it to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (note that the form may also require the child's signature).


5. Review and Appeal

If the advice of Legal Services is that the response of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority is not acceptable, the Designated Manager (Criminal Injuries) will apply for a review.

The written request can be made within 56 days for the decision to be reviewed by another claims officer, using the review form sent with the decision.

Any additional supporting evidence should be enclosed.

On receiving the application for a review, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority will withdraw the original offer and consider the application again. The new offer may be higher or lower than the original decision, or the Authority may reject the application. This then becomes the Authority's decision and it is not possible to go back and accept the original offer.

Legal Services will advise about any further documents which should be submitted with the application.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority will consider the application and give a decision in writing. There is no requirement to attend the review.

On receiving the decision of the review, the Designated Manager (Criminal Injuries) will seek the advice of Legal Services without delay about whether an appeal should be made against the decision.

If the review decision is accepted, the Designated Manager (Criminal Injuries) will confirm the acceptance in writing to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

If the review decision is not accepted, an appeal may be made. The Designated Manager (Criminal Injuries) will decide whether to appeal on the basis of advice from Legal Services about reasons for appealing which are likely to be acceptable to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

The Appeal must be made within 90 days of the date of the review decision to the First-tier Tribunal (Criminal Injuries Compensation).  An appeal form will be sent with the review decision.  The form and supporting evidence should be sent to:

First-tier Tribunal (Criminal Injuries Compensation)
Wellington House
134-136 Wellington Street
Glasgow
G2 2XL

The appeal tribunal may make a decision that is more favourable or less favourable than the review decision, or the review decision can stay the same.

The Social Worker must fill out the appeal application setting out in detail the reasons why the Children's Social Care disagrees with the review decision. The application should be signed by the Designated Manager (Criminal Injuries).

Staff should note that application for an appeal must be made within 90 days notification of the review decision. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority may extend this time limit if, within the 90 days, it is given good reason to do so. Late applications will only be considered if this would be in the interests of justice.

Decisions made at oral hearings are final and there is no further right of appeal but the Authority may reconsider the case if there is a serious deterioration in the applicant's medical condition.

On receiving an appeal decision the Area Manager will write to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority accepting the offer. This should be done within 7 days.


6. The Award

Wherever possible claims are settled by a single lump sum payment. Where eligibility for a payment has been determined but a final decision has not been reached then an interim payment can be considered.

No compensation will be paid until the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority receives an acceptance of the award in writing. Every effort must therefore be made to minimise the delay in responding to the Authority.

If the payment is accepted, the CICA will then normally put the money in an interest-earning deposit account in the child’s name, the payment to be paid to the child (together with all interest earned) when they reach 18.

 The CICA may consider requests to make payment into a Child Trust Fund / Junior ISA  or another type of account where the full value of the payment is protected until the child is 18 years old.

The Social Worker will make a note on the child's file under the key information sections stating that the money is held on his/her behalf.

The Social Worker will ensure that the financial statement is filed in the confidential section of the child's file. The Social Worker will note the child's age and as their 17th birthday approaches will initiate planning regarding release of the fund at the point of their 18th birthday.


7. Advancing Money from the Award to the Child

The CICA may allow advances if these are needed for the child’s sole benefit, education or welfare. 

It may be appropriate to consider applying for an advance for expenses such as:

  • Extra school holidays or educational trips in addition to normal holidays with foster Carers or residential establishment;
  • Education expenses such as additional tuition or equipment which could not normally be provided;
  • Purchase of a car, plus tax and insurance;
  • Costs associated with the pursuit and development of particular skills and aptitudes, especially as the child becomes older;
  • Medical and/or psychological treatment which cannot be provided on the NHS; or,
  • A deposit for the purchase of a property.

If it seems appropriate to advance money from the award to the child, the Social Worker will initiate the application by compiling a written report setting out the reasons why the advance is necessary. Whenever possible applications should be made with the agreement of the child and this should be stated in the report.

Any request for an advance for medical treatment should be supported by a medical report stating that the treatment is required and whether or not it is available from the NHS.

It should be borne in mind that:

  • Any advance should be for the benefit of the child;
  • In deciding whether the advance would in all circumstances, benefit the child,  regard should be had to the child's age and development;
  • No money will ordinarily be granted for day to day maintenance of a child who is in care;
  • Funds must not be available from any other source, such as the Benefits Agency, Health Services or charitable trusts;
  • Whether it would be better to allow the capital to accumulate.

The Social Worker will place a copy of the application, the decision, and a receipt for the money spent on the child's file.


8. When the Young Person is 18

When the young person reaches the age of 18 years, responsibility for handling the money awarded by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority will be handed over to him/her unless he/she is felt to be incapable of dealing with it.

If the CICA receive evidence that it would not be in the child’s best interests to be given the payment as a lump sum at age 18, they may consider  the use of an annuity or a trust at that time.

If, as the young person approaches the age of 18, he/she appears to be incapable, by reason of mental disorder, of managing his/her property, the Social Worker must consult Legal Services.  

It should be noted that the award will be taken into account in respect of all means tested benefits and that the usual saving rules will apply.

End