If you have been seriously affected either physically or mentally by a crime then there is a chance you can seek monetary compensation. However, the crime must have occurred within England, Wales or Scotland; even if you are a British citizen, you cannot normally claim criminal injury compensation if you were a victim of crime while abroad. In most circumstances crimes must also have been reported to the police in order for a successful claim to be made. But when exactly can a criminal injury compensation claim be made, and what sort of outcome can you expect?
When you can claim for criminal injuries compensation
There are a number of specific rules and guidelines in relation to when criminal injury compensation claims can be made:
- If you are the victim, the incident must have occurred through no fault of your own, have taken place in the last couple of years (unless the claim is for abuse) and, obviously, have suffered physically and/or mentally as a result of the crime.
- If you are the close relative (parent, partner, spouse or child) of the victim involved in the incident, they must have died as a result and within the last two years.
- If you have (or had) a close relationship with the victim, you must have been there during the crime or else the aftermath immediately following it. As well as it having to have happened in the last two years, you must also have personally incurred some kind of psychological injury as a result.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, which was set up in 1964, is the public body in charge of regulating criminal injuries compensation. They can refuse to pay your compensation claim if they have reason to do so (for example if you are found to have provoked the attack), but you can ask for a review or appeal to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel.
What to do after a criminal injury incident
Being the victim of a crime in any capacity can be an incredibly traumatic experience. As such, it stands to reason that you would want to make a compensation claim in response to any suffering you may have incurred. Be sure to go to a doctor so you can be given any physical or psychological treatment you may require as a result of the incident, and also be sure to call on the support of friends and family if you need it.
James Manervick is a compensation claims expert with a specialisation in criminal law.