May 1, 2020

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority Claims

In this episode of the HJ Talks About Abuse podcast we will discuss what the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority Scheme is – “CICA” Scheme and how, despite its good intentions, it is failing survivors of abuse.

The CICA Scheme is a government-funded scheme designed to compensate victims of violent crime in Great Britain. Compensation is calculated using a “tariff of injuries”, and so the size of the award varies to reflect the seriousness of the injury.

You must have reported matters to the police in order to apply; but it is free to apply to the scheme and you do not necessarily need a solicitor to complete the application for you.

The main pitfall of the scheme is the fact that survivors are refused compensation because of convictions that are unspent. This is regardless of any relevance to the abuse they suffered.

In recent weeks it has been publicised that a survivor of the well-known grooming gang scandal in Huddersfield was refused compensation because of a driving offence. (You can read about this here https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/huddersfield-grooming-gang-child-sex-abuse-compensation-driving-a9394736.html )

We often advise our sexually abused clients to make an application to the scheme, particularly those whose abuser is unknown, dead, or the institution involved is no longer operational.

We ensure that we advise our clients, and now advise you, to consider three important things:

  1. Your unspent convictions. A solution could be to wait and apply for the scheme when your conviction has become spent.
  2. The time limit. We have mentioned in previous podcasts the Limitation Act in relation to bringing a civil claim for sexual abuse. There is also a time limit to the CICA Scheme of 2 years from the date of the incident. However, there is discretion for the CICA to overlook this time limit if, for example, you have only recently reported matters to the police, you did not know the scheme existed, or you have some psychological reason for your delay in applying.
  3. Repaying a civil claim. You cannot be compensated twice for the same incident. So if you are bringing a civil claim against the perpetrators of the abuse, or an institution, and are compensated by them you will have to repay the CICA compensation award.

It is hoped that the CICA will adapt its strict approach to unspent convictions but we will have to wait and see.

If you are interested to learn more about the background to this podcast we direct you to our podcast from last March on Grooming Gangs.

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